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
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,
I'm a 70s girl too! At 13 I asked my mom if she'd let me relax my hair. Those Gentle Treatment commercials during Soul Train really got to me! On my 42nd birthday my husband cut off my relaxed ends and I never looked back! In a few weeks I'll be 46 and have my 4th nappyversary. I truly love my hair.
Thanks for sharing. Yes, I so understand your journey and know how wonderful it feels to be free of chemical dependence.