Recently I completed a guest blog on The Corkscrew Curl. Blog creator Adaeza Tula reached out to me to speak at her Dallas event The CorkScrew Curl Dallas and asked me to write something for her site in preparation for the event. She wanted me to speak about what being natural has done for me…and she asked me to dig deep! Surprisingly, I had a hard time writing this post because I had to admit some not so pretty facts about myself. Several thoughts ran through my head. Would people think I’m shallow? Superficial? Nevertheless, I put behind all that negative energy and just started to write what was on my mind and how I truly felt. As always, writing is a great therapeutic experience for me. Below is what being natural has done for me over the past couple years.
I started TexturedTalk.com as a way to have an avenue to talk about all things hair. Since I already knew I could talk about hair health, products, and styling until I was blue in the face I figured why not just combine all of my thoughts into one place. As I prepare for my first public speaking event in a few weeks, I find myself very nervous. Blogging is one thing. I can hide behind my computer and dish out the best 500-700 words on hair porosity without batting an eye. Talking one on one to family and friends is easy too.
These people know me, I’m comfortable with them and they know I have their best interest at heart. Public speaking on the other hand is a whole new beast. To help prepare for The Corkscrew Curl Dallas and as a mini-introduction for attendees to get to know me better I wanted to share with you all what being natural has done for me.
Normally, you will hear women say being natural has increased their self-confidence or that they now feel free after embracing their natural curls. And while I definitely understand those notions, that did not happen for me. I’ve always regarded myself as a person with high self-esteem and felt free to be who I wanted no matter the hair-style I wore. However, the truth is I wasn’t 100% comfortable with my natural hair at first. Did I think I was ugly? No. Did I want to wear wigs and weaves to disguise my true texture? No…but I did hold on to the notion that my natural hair was not as attractive as my silky straight blowouts. See for me being natural was always a mind game. While I exuded confidence to the world, I struggled with self acceptance of my hair on the inside. I would try new natural curly styles that everyone else would love and sometimes I would enjoy them too. But, if I was going to hit the club, go on an interview or attend an important event I wouldn’t dare rock a natural style. And yes, it was definitely superficial but hey that’s where I was at the moment when I started to transition in 2007.
Social media and the gradual acceptance of natural hair by so many women shifted my thinking and increased my self-acceptance for my natural hair. Believe it or not, positive images constantly reinforced upon you makes a HUGE difference. After I began to follow other bloggers, watch videos and scroll Instagram I was able to see the sophisticated, fun, flirty and sexiness of natural hair on everyday women who looked just like me. Even better, now that I had entered the natural hair community and continued to research, I became exposed to hair textures from A to Z and endless styling inspiration photos. In retrospect I blame my stupid attractiveness notion to lack of knowledge. I only knew of 3 natural hair styles when I started to transition – wash and go, twist out and the tuck & roll. So yeah, even though this may come off to some as a “follower” mentality it is the truth. I wasn’t fully able to accept my natural hair until my eyes were opened to the endless versatility of natural hair styling options. If you are struggling with accepting your natural hair I urge you to also follow women that have your texture and look like you and get some inspiration.
Being natural has not only helped me accept myself despite hair style, it has made me more compassionate and accepting of what another woman may choose to do with HER hair. A lot of women ditch the creamy crack, come over the world of natural hair and try to convert every woman walking down the street with straight edges. Being natural is not a cult or a golden ticket to happiness. If another woman chooses to get relaxers it is not my job to judge her. I do not know her life or her daily struggles. While I will talk to her about the benefits of natural hair if asked, my only goal is to continue to uplift women of color and hopefully inspire other women to accept of themselves regardless of style similar to how I was inspired. Although hair is a great accessory and extension into our personality, hair does not define who we are as women. **Cues India Arie** I am not my hair!
What has being natural done for you? Comment and let me know!