I May Never Be Ready to Fully Embrace My Natural Hair
I’m also officially done feeling guilty about it.
“I’m actually surprised you never decided to get on board with the natural hair movement. You’re one of the strongest, most authentic women I know, so I would have thought you’d be one of the first.” That’s something a female friend of color said to me not all that long ago.
We were having a casual discussion over Facebook about hairstyles and why people (especially black women like my friend or biracial women like me) might choose one option over another. She has stunning, all-natural afro-textured hair that she cares for meticulously and chooses to wear in a variety of different styles. She is also one of the most enviably beautiful women I know.
Yet, as beautiful and inspiring as I find my friend for choosing to celebrate her hair exactly as it grows out of her head, I’ve never seriously considered doing the same.
I’ve asked myself why quite a few times since that conversation and thought long and hard about the reasons I came up with. And, while I’ve realized I no longer see my bushy, curly biracial hair as “bad hair” the way I did when I was still just a kid, I can’t say with any honesty that I’ve learned to love it exactly the way it is, either.
I also realize I may never get all the way there. But maybe that’s not the hanging offense it feels like sometimes.
I hated my hair growing up for the same reasons a lot of biracial girls did.
Most of my girlfriends started changing their hair as little girls or teenagers because it’s just what you did, especially as you got older.
You got real haircuts that flattered your face and hair texture. You used styling products and tools like blowdryers to keep your hair looking as well-groomed as possible. If you had particularly cool parents, maybe you dyed yours. Getting to do these things with your hair was really exciting — proof that you weren’t just a kid anymore and a big part of how you showed your identity to the rest of the world.
Hair was an especially big deal for those of us who were black or mixed. When we were all still growing up, things like…