|16| “Natural Hair is a Lifestyle Change”

Friday, 11.11.11...

When it comes to conversations about me and my natural hair, I can’t even tell you how often I have heard “I just can’t do it” come out of the mouths of many women of color I encounter.  To one extent, I can’t fault the line of thinking due to the mental conditioning of the standard of beauty that has been, and unfortunately will continue to be, omnipresent throughout our communities and society.  To another extent, I do consider the statement an excuse.  Though I usually find myself smirking and shaking my head, I’m not necessarily doing so to diminish an opinion, but it’s usually due in part to my realization of how deep the mentality lies within us and I am attempting to find the words to relay to those women to explore a viewpoint into the possibility of “can”.  I’d like to feel I am being more impactful in helping to dispel the mentality by the mere presence of “me” wearing my naturally-stated hair in all its glory, but am with the understanding it’s just not that simple.  There’s a bit more involved in the equation of someone taking a step towards considering an “impossible” possible.

Once the hurdle of accepting the truth & acknowledging they no longer want to live by society’s beauty standard, returning to the state of natural hair for women of color then becomes a LIFESTYLE CHANGE.

Just as one comes to the realization to lose weight, stop smoking, get married, have children, start a business, go back to school, and the list goes on, making the decision to no longer alter your hair indeed takes the same level of planning, patience, persistence, and consistency as with everything in life. 

Let’s look at losing weight.  In order to lose weight, a NUMBER of factors come into play to ensure a desired end result.  You have to work out consistently, watch what & how much you eat, figure out WHEN you’re gonna work out, HOW you’re gonna work out, eat differently, cook differently, grocery-shop differently, and you have to figure out how to incorporate all of that into your already jam-packed days of having to tend to your hubby/wife/kids, your demanding “9 to 5”, and be physically & emotionally available for family responsibilities in general.  No matter how you look at it, it takes effort.  It’s a major adjustment in what you normally do.  But, guess what?  Though it completely adds a new element to your life, you make it work, by any means necessary because you want/need to lose weight.  As time passes, it then becomes “normal” and what you saw early on as a “burden” has now become a beneficial routine of relative ease.

The same can be applied to your natural coils and curls.  Earlier, I mentioned it being an excuse when I hear someone say they ‘just can’t do it’, because it truly is.  When there is something you really WANT to do, you’re gonna do everything in your power to do it!  A long time ago I heard somebody say these words that have never left my psyche…“Never say can’t, ‘cause can’t never could do nothin’!”  One of my many translations(?)…You can’t knock something you’ve NEVER even made an attempt to try!

For those women who have yet to turn the corner to natural, look at your hair routine now…the planning or avoiding you’ve done throughout the week in ensuring you make your hair appointment, the dependence you have on your stylist and being on his/her time, the countless number of hours you’ve spent in the beauty shop, the money you’ve spent getting your hair done every week…ALL of that takes time and EFFORT. 

Why not shift that effort into learning as much as possible about your afro-textured self and reclaiming the power of shaping your own standard of beauty on your own terms and on your own schedule?

No time like the present to start embracing the change in your hair lifestyle!

Afro-texturally speaking…


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