|8| “Lessons Learned”…

Wednesday, 9.14.11…

I’m disappointed…

Throughout the course of this relationship with my hair, I have found myself feeling a strong sense of joy and satisfaction in the “littlest” of conversations involving all things natural hair. Frankly, it has unexpectedly become a “passion”, if you will. I don’t think anyone around me really understands it, but hey, what’s important is knowing what this “movement” has done for me personally. I don’t think I’ve announced it in this forum previously, but I have a FB group page, titled “Naturally Be-YOU-tiful”, (Update 9.23.11, group name changed from "FB Naturals" ), that I created to share natural hair care info and offer a POSITIVE platform for women to either share their own personal hair relationships or seek encouragement. The group page has DEFINITELY fueled this “passion” and only fans the flames of me wanting to continue to inform the uninformed, applaud the successful “convert” stories, and overall, be a source of encouragement for that ooooone sistah who is not “quite” ready to leap into the “relationship”. My day-to-day comings and goings in life, my group page, and this blog all spawn feedback and conversation, and I’m happy to say 99.7% of it is positive…from the ‘I like your hair‘ compliments, to the ‘What do you use on your hair?’/’What’s a good moisturizer?’ inquiries & conversations, to those women who actually reach out to me “offline” either for information or simply to get a little bit of encouragement to take the steps to go natural. No matter the scenario, be it a positive compliment or conversation or a basic question I have previously answered scores of time, I feel a “smile” inside of me (I know that sounds corny, but it’s the best way I can think of in this moment to capture the feeling) because I know I’m passing what I know forward.

Now…*ahem* <clearing throat>...

On the FLIP side of that, I feel an equal sense of disappointment. Why, you may ask? Well, three things:

Firstly, at the risk of offending some folks, one issue in particular that “bothers” me, is women who went out of their way to reach out to me (because they’ve either seen my pictures on my social media pages or met me in person at some point) as a result of them having a genuine interest (so it seemed) in becoming natural and inquired accordingly, I chose to engage in conversation, all the while “smiling” inside. Time passes, and I decide to do a spot check to inquire about their progression. Here’s “Disappointment #1”…I either don’t get a response at all, get a “see, uuuum wuh had happen was” response, simply see pictures of them proudly sportin’ a wig or weave of some form, or I feel let down in a sense because I obviously did not provide enough information &/or encouragement to help them in their journey.

Lesson(s) Learned #1: I am the type of person that once I have decided to commit to something, I’m in it 172%, coupled with a "work" ethic to push through despite the challenges. I apply that to my relationship, my job, working out, my HAIR, etc. What I’ve realized recently is 1) in order for women of color to feel comfortable with wearing their hair its natural state, they have to be “READY”. By “ready” I mean, mentally coming to terms with completely accepting and EMBRACING the hair growing from their heads and willing to do what it takes to self-educate in the effort of properly caring for that hair; and 2) everyone does not possess the same level of commitment or interest in this as I do. Strange as it may be, I have a passion to share natural hair knowledge and want this to be more that a movement, but a way of life for women of color. People reach out to me for a reason and I am learning to provide that information without expectation or judgment. When they are “ready”, so it will be, and hopefully they, too, will pick up the baton and run with it to pay it forward! :)

Secondly, it is not a secret I do not support our women wearing wigs and weaves and I make no apologies for it. Here’s “Disappointment #2”…The issue for me is not necessarily the wearing of the wig or weave, because I get the whole “I just want a new look” vibe…it’s the use of them as a “cover-up”!! It “concerns” me when I see women in their “cover-up”, (and in MANY instances, a poorly attached or matched one), because either their hair “ain’t did”, or they have no idea what to do with their natural hair and making NO effort to figure it out, or they are still tied to the negatively conditioned mentality about our hair in its natural state and the so-called standard for beauty of having “long and flowy” hair.

Lesson Learned #2: As a LONG-TIME wearer of braids and “phony ponies” in my previous life, I say aaaaaaall that to say…through the “disappointment”, I understand! This is why I will & MUST continue to do what I do…INFORM the uniformed in the effort of breaking the cycle.

Thirdly (and lastly), I am now in a Metropolitan area where being natural is more of a “norm” than an exception, which I am absolutely LOVIN’…H.O.W.E.V.E.R…Here’s “Disappointment #3”…Women who proudly sport their hair in its natural state, but are not taking care of it the way it needs to be taken care of. I cannot even TELL you the number of times I’ve seen women just out and about and me WISHING I had my bottle of daily spray moisturizer mixture & shea butter in my purse so I can use it on their hair, see their amazement in the immediate transformation, then walk away knowing I did my good deed for the day!! LOL  

IIIIIIIN ADDITION...*ahem*...it is the women/men who chose not to represent their natural hair to its fullest potential of healthy glory that perpetuate the long-standing myth that afro-textured hair is not manageable, which in turn, turns people off to even wanting to attempt returning to the state of natural hair because they automatically, upon sight, think said wearer of untaken-care-of-natural-hair looks a hot mess!!

Lesson Learned #3?…Waaaaaaait fooooor iiiiiiit…to this I say a-gain…continue to INFORM the uninformed (oh, and to start carrying around a spare bottle of daily spray moisturizer & shea butter!! :)) 


…Until my fingers keystroke again,


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