Last week was the first week of school. The day that everyone over-obsesses about their image. Making that first impression was important. What the first impression looks like have shifted over the years.
First day of school 10 years ago meant a fresh perm. The hair had to be laid! Nails had to be done. Outfit needed to be fresh. And your shoes needed to be A1. The style was the same.
This year felt a little different though. I walked into my classroom, which felt more like an auditorium with about 400+ students. My school is a fairly diverse school, but what I noticed next stopped me dead in my tracks!
Afros, puffs, twist outs, that melanin was pahp-pin! The beautiful coifs in every other seat. There was not just one style. The individualism and self expression was in full bloom. I could barely pay attention to the professor.
When I started to transition to natural in 2012, it was still being frowned upon and deemed unkempt. NOW it seems that more women of all races are embracing their natural texture.
I remember the hours I would sit at the salon, and then hours of flat ironing. The maintenance was tedious. This one time in particular, I was 18 years old. It was my first year in college, and I was getting ready to go out to the festivities for carnival.
My friends impatiently waited outside of my dorm as I tried to perfect the hideous “Snooki” hump. In those days, my hair had to be bone straight. I just couldn’t figure it out. I was under so much pressure having to keep up with this polished look.
Having a relaxer was expensive, at times painful, and not always have the greatest results. Frizz was not an option.
Now that I am natural, I can literally wash and go! I do not get weird looks when my hair is a little out of place or lopsided. The best part of being natural is that I am ultimately free from monthly visits to the salon. I actually GAINED 108 hours a year! All I did was kick the trend.
Making the natural hair jump was scary because you just never know what type of hair is under all that permed hair. Then you have the bald stage. Some girls transition, but holding on to the relaxed hair does more harm than good. When you combine the two textures, it compromises your new healthy hair for the brittle length of lifeless, distressed hair.
I love the natural look. It is effortless and un-fussy. It is MINE. I love when I wear my hair in a fro and people stop to ask me, “Is that all yours?” Why yes, yes it is.
I have done so many things with my hair! It is so versatile! I have had blonde hair, straight hair, black cherry hair, purple hair, magenta hair, even a shaved side! Yet my hair still flourishes.
I have tried other methods such as lace front wigs but those compromise my edges. I have gotten braids but they are so heavy an tight that they become uncomfortable. And SEW-INS??? FORGET ABOUT IT.
My last sew-in was in December of 2013 for my birthday! I was not too experienced in weave, such as what kind to get, how much to get, the style that would look right. I was all the way confused. Once I sat in the chair, I told her, do whatever you think looks good.
Apparently, those words are frowned upon with weave installation. You need to already know what you are going to do, so that you know how much to get. She started braiding my hair in a cone shape around my head. I could already tell this was going to be a problem. It was freakin’ TIGHT!!!!! Like wth? It hurt so bad that I started to get dizzy.
When I told her it was hurting, she snapped back telling me that pain is beauty, and it has to be tight for the look to last. So I said okay and just bit the bullet. Further along, we got to the last row of braids. At this point, I wasn’t sure if I was hungry or not but I was ready to pass out! If this is what it takes for the look to last, you can keep it. I ordered pizza and took a pain reliever.
An hour after taking the pills, the pain never subsided. She moved on to the actual installation of the weave. With every stitch, it got tighter and tighter. Tears started rolling down my face as I writhed in pain. After reaching about halfway, I finally screamed out, “STOP!”
I ran straight to the bathroom and threw up. At this point, either I was pregnant or I was about to meet my maker. The way I felt, I quickly would have chosen the latter. She stared at me as if she didn’t know what was going on, but I knew. My hair was too tight from the jump. She finished my hair as fast as she could while I gripped the bucket with dear life.
She finally finished but I had no strength. I had to to call my boyfriend to pick me up. It took him THREE WHOLE HOURS to catch the bus to me, then he drove me home. The pain lasted (I kid you not) for two weeks, and at that point the pain was just bearable.
I kept it in for about 5 weeks, people told me to keep it in longer but I know when the expiration date is up on weave. My hair smelled musty, like there was mold underneath my cap. I knew that could not be good. People tried to give me advice. Buy this spray or that spray. Excuse me? What? HEEEELLLLLLL NAAAHHHHH!!! If something stinks, you wash it. If it still stinks after you wash it, throw it in the trash!
I don’t care how much it costs, what kind of virgin Indians walking around with no hair, I DON’T CARE. I was taking that mess off TUH-DAY!!!
Well, I knew that I would finally have some freedom but now the worst part was uninstalling the weave with minimal damage. I would never trust anyone to take it out for me. The web of thread that I had to untangle was the pits. So the first thing I did was cut the length of the hair. Why not? It’s not like I would ever do this again. Then I started taking the thread out and removing each row. This isn’t so bad, right?
WRONG-O! There were pieces that werr bonded to my own hair for life, like it was contracted. Needless to say, I lost some hair during the process. Once I was done, I could finally wash my hair! I was so excited, I could almost feel the cool water massaging my scalp. That was something I had not felt for a while, and I desperately yearned for it.
As I carefully finger detangled my hair, I felt my hair falling out in clumps. WTH? It also felt paper thin and fragile. So much for protective styles. I needed instant damage control. I ran to the fridge, got some mayonnaise, and conjured up my infamous, no-fail protein treatment.
From that moment on, if I ever wanted to switch it up, I would wear wigs. It is cheap, easy, and I can rip it off at night. No commitment. I like that. I also would maintain a sense of peace knowing that my hair is healthy.
No matter what style you choose to wear your hair, make sure that you are not sacrificing your own beauty. I used hair as and example but anything such as eyelash extensions, nail extensions, excessive makeup, and much more. Yes it looks great, but at what cost?
I became a minimalist by giving up my superficial needs and I LOVE IT.
Remember beauty is only skin deep. Once that fades what do you have to in place of that?