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Philadelphia, PA 19104

up and out: two years a natural.

Gabrielle's World

up and out: two years a natural.

Gabrielle Hickmon

I used to wish my hair grew down instead of up and out. 

When I was a little girl, I grew tired of braids, beads, plats, and sweating out my press. So, I begged my mom to "relax" my hair. I should have known then that something was wrong. 

Relax. Relaxer. 
To tame. calm down. subdue.
Grow down, not up and out. 

She resisted my requests for two years. Forced me to continue wearing braids, just without the beads.
I thought I was grown.
I hated looking like a child. 

Relax. Relaxer. 
I got my wish. My hair grew down, instead of up and out. 
Except. 
It was shorter. I was shorter. 
Not physically. Spiritually? 
Shorter in that space that speaks to who you are. 
Being comfortable in your own skin. 
My hair, when it grew, if it grew, 
Grew down. Never up. And definitely not out. 

No one told me that relaxing my hair would relax other parts of me. 
Silence my mouth.
Weaken my spine. 
Make my skin crawl. 
I don't know when I learned to hate myself. 

I wanted relaxed hair because I wanted to be older than I was. 
Wanted to stop sweating out my hair during basketball, volleyball, and everyday in gym class. 
Was tired of explaining why my hair looked different from week to week. 
Was tired of not fitting the world's mold. 
In 8th grade, all you want to do is fit in. 
I couldn't bear standing out. 

I used to wish my hair grew down, instead of up and out.. 
From 8th grade to my junior year of college, I got my wish. 
Until, 

Chop. Big. Cut. No transition. 
It. Had. To. Go. 
Weight. Gone. 
Free. 

I used to wish my hair grew down, instead of up and out until I realized, 
I want to grow up and out, not down. 


It's been two years since I chopped all my hair off on a whim and I've never felt more myself, more comfortable with my body/appearance, and more in tune with my spirit. 

Up and out. Never down. 

Happy Naturalaversary to me. 
Here's to more inches - of hair, and woman. 
Up and out. Never down. 

Image: PopCrush