Growing up, no one taught us how to love and manage our natural hair, the only solutions were to change the texture with a perm or hide the hair with extensions. Our self-esteem was built around the texture of our hair.
I grew up in a world where my natural hair wasn’t acceptable and wearing extensions and/or perm hair were considered as sexy and attractive. I was never comfortable with extensions, but I would perm and color my hair. After having my first child, my hair became too much for me to handle and I would then put the extensions so that I didn’t have to worry about my hair for up to six weeks. I started to perm my hair less in my late twenties and instead of every month, I would go as long as I could manage my hair with the help of a flat iron. Sometimes, I would go as long as six months without a perm because by then my hair would have become unmanageable.
I always thought I was a happy person and that I loved myself, but how can you love yourself when no one teaches you to love yourself as the person God made you to be. I remember as a little girl I used to admire a Caucasian woman because I thought this type woman had such beautiful hair. My childhood memory of all the black women around me was that they had perm hair, natural hair was only seen wearing by children and once you had become a teenager you were expected to perm your hair straight.
As I grew older I started to read more and by educating myself, I started to learn that no one can ever love me if I don’t love myself. I learned that I had to accept myself for who I am and if I loved myself enough, people would, in turn, love me for who I am. I also learned that people’s perception of me is a reflection of how I see myself. It was with this new self-love I decided if I was going to love myself, I had to love me in my natural state as well. It was about six years ago I started my natural journey. It was very hard at first because I would give up and perm or flatiron my hair whenever my hair was unmanageable.
I struggled with going natural until five years ago when I had my daughter, I looked at my baby girl and started thanking God for such a wonderful gift and how perfect she is to me in every way. I wanted to be the best mother possible and a positive role model to her. I then came to the realization that I didn’t want my daughter to grow up thinking she isn’t pretty enough because she doesn’t have straight hair. I needed to teach her self-love and that the only person in life that could make her happy was herself. The only way she can achieve this is by accepting herself and loving herself in her natural state.
My natural hair journey began once I started to love myself for who I am but it came into full effect when I realized my daughter’s identity of who she grew up to be was in my hands. With this new mindset, I started to research my hair type and follow other women who have been successful on their journey. I was able to learn a technique that enhanced my hair quality; allowing me to manage my hair daily.
I know now that in order to love me fully I had to love every part of me; and that the love I have for myself, is the same love that persons reflect back to me.
I am now able to motivate the black women that I am surrounded by daily; they ask me for advice and show their appreciation when my method works for them. In Jamaica, they taught us that “no man is an island and no man can stand alone”.
As women, we can make a big difference in our young girls’ lives and empowering them, is the best way. Showing them that we love ourselves in the likeness of God and who He created us to be: being that ideal role model. In turn, they will see the value in themselves and start to love themselves for who they are and how God created them.
For me, the moment I started to love my natural beauty, was the same moment people started to appreciate me, as a black woman.
I conclude by saying to you readers:
“Love yourself in the Natural; Love you for you: Love you for who God created you to be”