The Politics of the Switch Up: It's my Naturalaversary
Flashback to last May when I cut all of my hair off - much to the dismay and surprise of my father, line-sisters, and guy friends. If you're a Black woman or you know anything about us then you know how important our hair is - how political our hair is. So when you do something like cut if all off and go natural, that's kind of a big deal.
"Why'd you cut all your hair off?" Hmm, well, it wasn't healthy or growing anymore and felt like dead weight. Oh also, I wanted to and it's my hair.
"You know, I like you a lot better with long hair." Umm, thanks?
I'm sure people didn't mean to be rude, awkward, or mean but well, they were. Whatever. Flash forward to a few months ago when I straightened my hair for the first time since I big-chopped in May. I was HYPE to see my hair straight and when I peeped that it was like 2 inches shorter than it was when I cut it I was even happier. It hadn't even been a year and I was almost back where I started. That's what I call LIT.
Today however, is my naturalaversary. It's been a year since I big-chopped and in some ways I can't remember who I was without my fro. I can't remember why I begged my mother to let me perm my hair in eighth grade. Just kidding, I can. Because somewhere along the way, I picked up on the idea that I needed to have straight hair to be beautiful. That perming my hair would make it healthier and manageability was key. Thank God I came to my senses a year ago. (Note: MY senses. This post isn't meant to condemn or shame how any Black woman wears her hair. It's simply meant to reflect on the journey I've gone on with my mane.)
I look back at pictures from when I first cut my hair and it was super low. Like, you could barely pull it off my head. Now, it's down to my shoulders. As my desire to cut my hair reached an all time fever and my fro has grown, so have I. Grown from a girl that wanted desperately to go natural and cut her hair but was afraid to someone who just decided to cut it on a whim one day. Grown from someone who was really only comfortable operating by the book, to someone who relishes in adrenaline and taking risks. Cutting my hair symbolized the beginning of a process of rebirth and a year later, I'm only just now getting to know the woman that I have become.
There is a quote by Coco Chanel, "A woman who cuts her hair, is about to change her life." Well, cut my hair and change my life I did. My natural hair has taught me the importance of self-care, being gentle with myself, and accepting myself for who I am. There is no where for me to hide. You meet me and you see my face. There's no hair to block it so I had better be really comfortable with how I look and what is conveyed through my eyes. There's not much that I can do with my hair right now. Most days I just let it do it's thing and have learned in the process to let myself do my thing. Yes, I've done the occasional Bantu knot out and perm rod set, but for the most part, I just let my hair exist as it is. I've learned to let myself exist as I am as well. Natural hair is strong, but fragile. It requires a special kind of care in the form of regular deep conditions, twice weekly washes, ACV rinses, and baths in oil. Embracing products and practices that would help my hair flourish forced me to build time into my schedule to not only take care of my hair, but myself.
So, happy Naturalaversay to my fro and I. Here's to the rest of this wild ride. I can't wait for the days when you're blocking people's views and defying gravity even more than you already do. And remember, if you can't love me at my Bantu knot out then you damn sure don't deserve me come length check time. And zon't slide in my DMs because it's bundles season. Take me as I am, or don't me at all.