Sunday, November 4, 2012

Au Naturale


A few months ago I decided to walk away. I wasn't exactly sure of what lay ahead, but I wanted to go in a different direction; I decided to wear my hair in its natural state.

This sounds totally trivial, but to black women the state of our hair is a lifestyle choice. It affects our day to day activities, Saturday schedule every 4-6 weeks and even our sleep patterns. To black women the question of whether or not to relax our hair is anything but trivial!

I always thought I'd cut my hair into a short natural crop style when I turned 40. I chose 40 because it's that magical age when you're officially old. Well, now that I'm closer to 40 than ever before, 40 doesn't seem that old. Lately, I've seen so many other natural, low maintenance styles that I'm curious to try.

What really sealed the deal, was Baby A. Now that I'm responsible for training a daughter to become a woman, my outlook and focus has shifted a bit. With the boys, the image that I portray becomes the image they seek (or avoid) when finding a wife. Whatever the case, it will influence who they choose to spend the rest of their lives with and what they'll expect of her; however, with a daughter, the image that I portray will either be emulated or despised. During those teen years I expect a little of both.

I realize that unlike in my childhood, my daughter won't be heavily influenced or come in contact with (regularly) women that look like her. While I know things have come a long way in terms of race relations and acceptance of differences, I'm not naive. I will be the single most influential black female that helps her on her road to self discovery. I want her to be comfortable in her own skin, so what better way than for me to model it?

Four months into the journey, I feel great about my choice. I'm re-learning how to do my hair. I'm amazed at how many misconceptions I had about my tight kinks. I have a long way to go, but I don't regret my choice. This will likely be just the tip of the iceberg. I realize that I also need to avoid portraying certain gender stereotypes and model healthier living. For now, I'm just going to take it one pin curl at a time.

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