FEELING CONFIDENT WITH YOUR NATURAL HAIR
I had an interview yesterday, for an internship position. Anyone who has had an interview of any kind knows how nerve-wracking that feels but as I stood in front of the mirror, my reflection staring back at me I knew my heart was racing for a reason other than anxiety from my impending interview - my hair.
This is the third year of my life I have worn my natural hair and I am all too familiar with feeling unattractive and sometimes ugly because I don't feel confident in my hair.
There is a generation of young black women like me who were raised hating their hair and having no real contact with it, how else can we justify a generation of women who feel more comfortable wearing extensions than they will ever feel with their own hair. Growing up hearing afros called everything from nappy to difficult, too hard to manage to straight up ugly. Choosing to have my hair in its natural state seems a somewhat defiant act when it should be second nature especially considering I am a 20-year-old woman who should be sure of herself. But having encounters where people have demeaned my hair regardless of how beautiful I think it makes it difficult to feel confident about it.
I have had family members tell me to comb my hair or threaten to chemically straighten it and cause damage to it because it was too much of an inconvenience, my hair on my head was an inconvenience to them or ask whether my choice to have it out was because I could not afford extensions or tell me how much more attractive I am with extensions. I have no problem with having extensions, just the idea that natural hair is so unattractive that they have become a thing of need rather than want.
If you are like me who has struggled feeling confident with their natural hair here is some advice from a few of us who understand.
- Get to know your hair, spend time learning about your hair.
- Don't compare your hair to anyone else's
- There will be so many people who have beautiful hair for many reasons, including you. Do not expect your hair to be anything different from what it is just because your hair doesn't exhibit the characteristics you find beautiful in other people's hair.
- Love your hair for what it is.
- Do your research, we have access to one of the greatest sources of knowledge there will ever be, take advantage of the Internet and use it as a means to educate yourself. This will bring you closer to understanding your hair.
" I used to hate having it out because people would look at me and during that time I was very insecure. But as I have learned to embrace it, I began using it as a shield? And I became my hair. I used it to hide my face so I took the decision to do a big chop for both improving my hair after damage and to embrace my face? And people saw me for who I was and I wasn’t known as the girl with the fro but as Louise."
"I got the big chop in July 2017 after having relaxed hair from the age of 5 (so around 14 years). It was a big decision to make, one that some of my family (who had relaxed hair) told me I shouldn't in case it didn't suit me. But I was baffled. How would the hair that God made me with not suit me? I had hated my relaxed hair and how much effort (shocking right) I needed to put into it in order to feel beautiful. I was tired of always needing braids or weave or something fake in my hair to feel
So I made the decision about my hair, overruling others, and big chopped. And it was the best decision I've ever made. Genuinely. I left the salon with the biggest from on my face. I had no regrets. I loved how it looked and felt and how it made me look and feel...beautiful. A year on I still get comments about how healthy and gorgeous my 'fro is. It's grown so much. I also still get comments about how hard it must be to handle. And they always shock me because, as someone who has Never dealt with natural hair before, I didn't even know my hair texture or what it would look like before I big chopped. But I did my research and I educated myself on how to properly love my Beautiful, kinky hair. And it's paid off. No, I don't cry when I comb my hair (I use a detangling conditioner) and no it doesn't take that much care. I enjoy every single minute I spend loving my hair because it gave me confidence and helped me feel beautiful in myself."