Here I am with my sister (I'm the one waving) walking in some parade in New York with our Brownie Troop. Look at those socks!! Could we get them any HIGHER??? Anyway, our hair was still natural. My mother was only combing, brushing and braiding it, but for this ultra-special occasion, she must have curled it for us. It’s WAYYY too far back for me to remember.
I posted that pic as a peek into my childhood when most little girls were natural. Maybe a few were getting their hair pressed but not many. I know I wasn't getting mine pressed back then because my mother hadn’t started doing it yet. This was the 70’s! I was still rocking Afro puffs. I was just a string bean and the biggest thing on my body was my head! Childhood...
Somewhere things went wrong and we started getting our hair pressed and eventually when I turned 13 or 14 years old, my sister and I were getting our hair relaxed. As a child, I didn't have much of a choice of how to manage my hair or choose if I could wear it natural. My mother, as many mothers have and still do, took charge and made the decision to alter my hair from its natural state. I've heard some naturals say if they had the choice, they would have STAYED natural but I'm going to be brutally honest and say, I wanted the silkiness of straight hair. That's what was considered beautiful in my eyes as well as many others. I vividly remember prancing around with a long knitted or silky scarf on my head watching it dangle on my sides pretending it was my long flowing hair. I loved how it felt as it bopped me in the face and I swung that 'white girl swing' so it would stay out of my chocolate eyes. Oh, if I could steal a peek into my past and watch the little string bean I would be ashamed and saddened by the spectacle.
I cannot change my past or my past feelings. I can only remind myself of what the media as well as toy makers and cartoon writers allowed the world to believe what was 'beautiful'. I bought into the hype. Now, I can remember during my teen years the envy I had of the white girls who had that glorious wash and go hair. How I wished I could just get in the shower and not wear a shower cap with a scarf tucked ever so tightly around my relaxed tresses. How I wished I could let it air dry. Don’t forget wishing the opportunity to go to the pool or wave pool without cramming my head into the ridiculously tight swim cap. How I wished I could have naturally curly hair....and to think I've had it all this time.
I look back at a past full of poor decisions but no real regrets. Going through what I went through made the transition from relaxed hair to natural even more sweet. Maybe I'm a fanatical wash andgo Natural because I've wanted to do this for so many years? Maybe I go out even in the dead of winter with a wet head (never ONCE getting sick mind you) just because I can. Whatever the reason, I'm glad to have moved to Colorado eight years ago and turned my back on chemically altering my gorgeous naturalness.
This proud Natural has REAL curls, not store bought ones and I cannot thank the little girl from the 70's enough for wanting this so badly. I sometimes feel like that little girl as I surf the blogs and YouTube seeing all the newly naturals in their teens and 20's. I may have entered later than most but I'm just really, really glad to be here...
Loving my journey to natural beauty,