A Journey to Self Love

October 10, 2019






6 Years ago you couldn't catch me outside without 3 long full bundles swinging from my head.  I did NOT play about my weave.  I had an appointment every two weeks to get my hair laid, and come hell or high water I made it to that seat no matter what.  If someone would have told me that 6 years later I would be walking around confidently sashaying down the street with a shake and go fro I would have thought they were delirious.


Dress: H&M; Sneakers: Adidas; Earrings: H&M (In-store Only)


Now don't get me wrong.  I truly believe all black women should have the right to wear their hair in whatever style makes them feel the most confident, but my personal behavior was indicative of a larger issue.   I was raised by a mother who came from a generation of permed and straight hair being more visually desirable.  Although she always means well in everything she does for me, her thinking is simply a result of historical precedence about hair that has been passed down from generation to generation.  The belief that straight hair is more attractive and natural hair is only acceptable if it is more of a loose curl pattern.  These are the beliefs myself, and I'm sure many other black women, were raised on.  Going to get a perm once a month from the age of 5 until about 18 seemed was completely normal to me.  Sure I endured chemical burns so bad I could peel the palm-sized scabs off my scalp, but it never really seemed like much of an issue.  "Beauty is pain right?"



It wasn't until I went to a hairdresser that did not properly wash the perm out of the back of my head that things changed for me.  I watched chunks of my hair fall out over the course of a few days leaving me with a horrifyingly huge bald spot in the back of my head.  It was that day I swore I would never get another perm.  I wasn't really sure what else to do with my hair so I began my relationship with weaves and braids.  This went on for years.  I would get my hair done back to back without a care in the world.  Typically it is recommended you let your hair rest for a few weeks between " protective" styles, but I didn't care much about protecting my hair.  The only thing I was concerned with was hiding it.  You see, I didn't grow up with a curly texture of hair.  I grew up with hair so course I broke every comb and blow dryer that came in contact with it.  I hated looking at it let alone trying to deal with it or " keep it healthy" .   I spent all my money and time making sure it was always well covered up.  This behavior went on for years. I'm ashamed to even think about how many years it was.  What shocks me most now, when I think back on it, was that I didn't see a problem with my line of thinking.  It was so commonplace that I truly saw no issue.

A few years later things changed.  My best friend decided she wanted to try to go natural.  I remember her telling me and asking me to do it with her and me thinking she was insane.  I would watch her try twist outs, and study countless youtube videos, and think " Oh she's tripping".  I just couldn't understand why she would want to stop getting weaves.  I mean, we were so beautiful with our 20 inches of hair.  What was she thinking?!!  I didn't know but I for damn sure wasn't going to find out either, or so I thought.

Thanksgiving came around, and my hairdresser was BOOKED.  Typically I would make a standing appointment to make sure I always had something on the books but this time I forgot.  I begged her to try to squeeze me in but unfortunately, she didn't have anything available.  I was devastated, to say the least.  The sheer thought of showing up at thanksgiving without my hair done terrified me.  But guess what ya'll, ya girl had no choice.  So that's what I did.  I walked up to the door head down and a lot more quiet than I have ever been ( if you know me personally you know I'm NEVER  quite).  I had my hair covered up with a scarf because in my mind it was far better to wear a scarf on my head, looking like I had just rolled out of bed than to just allow people to see my hair.

I noticed my older cousin kept staring at me with an extremely irritated look.  After trying to ignore her for as long as humanly possible I finally decided to ask her what was up.  She simply said " why do you have that scarf on girl".  I already knew what was about to go down and I absolutely wasn't in the mood.  I simply replied " my hair isn't done, that's all its not a big deal", but she wouldn't let up.  She kept asking me what I considered "done" and why I believed that my hair in its current state wasn't presentable enough for me to come out of the house.  Now I could sit here and give you every rebuttal she provided to my responses, but to be honest none of them resonated with me.  They were all in one ear and out the other.  But there was one thing she said that stuck with me.  It hit me so hard that 6 years later I remember it, and I likely always will.  She said " the problem is not what's on your head the problem is what's in your head."

It was really that simple.  I spent my entire life hating a part of me so much that I would do anything to hide it.  No matter the cost, the time, the pain, the damage to my own hair, none of that was enough to make me accept myself for who I was.  It was that night that I decided I would at least TRY going natural. I had spent so much time hiding from myself I didn't even know how to love myself as I truly was.  Although there have been ups and downs this has been one of the most beautiful journeys I have taken.

Now I want to be very clear.  I believe that every black woman has the right to do whatever she wants with her hair.  It grows out of YOUR head.  As long as you are taking care of it and making decisions in the best interest of the health of your hair then GO OFF SIS!! I switch my hair up often, and I love having the freedom to be able to do so.  Do I still wear weaves, wigs, and braids occasionally, YES! Do I go through stints of straightening my hair, Absolutely!! But now I have gained freedom.  I no longer feel like I have to cover up whats on m head to achieve society's standard of beauty.  I look in the mirror and I feel beautiful, confident, and in love with the person staring back at me.  Of course, there are times when I get frustrated with my natural hair because it can be quite a bit of work at times, but I love it more than that frustration.



As I walk through the hallways of my office, and men and women of every color comment on the beauty of my fro, the joy I feel is insurmountable.  I hold my head high, and I know every coil, and kink is perfect.  So the point of this extraordinarily long-winded post is that I want each of you to know that you are perfect as you are.  Whatever your insecurity may be.  Whether it be hair, body, skin, it doesn't matter you are perfectly and wonderfully made.  Please don't ever forget that, because once you do the problem is no longer external, sis it's internal.


Thank you so much for reading,
Camille

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