When and why did you start your natural hair journey?
I officially started my natural hair journey about six years ago, but I have actually been a born again natural three times in my life. Each time I was expecting a texture completely different than my own, which meant I was expecting coily, uniformed curls and not the kinky texture that sprouted from every big chop.
The result…trying to achieve a texture that wasn’t mine through over- manipulation. I was stretching my hair through heat as well as bantu knot outs, braidouts, twistouts and any other “out” or technique I could, to achieve any texture that was different from my own.
I am not in any way trying to insinuate that these methods are bad (except for the use of too much heat), especially if you are using them as an aid for easier manageability, or simply prefer a different style. But, in a world of curl definition, I really had to understand why the second my braid out lost its definition, or a bantu knot out became less of a coil, why I felt the need to continually over-manipulate my strands into submission of something they did not want to be.
Why I went natural had to do more with what was going on internally rather than physically. I know for many others, hair is just hair and that is completely fine, no judgments here, but for me how I felt about myself translated through my hair.
I was manipulating my natural state through chemicals, which eventually transitioned to heat to create a texture that wasn’t mine. Especially since I was a model at the time, my Afro-textured 4-strands felt like a hindrance rather than something that should be appreciated and loved. I was told more than once my hair was holding me back, but something always felt very wrong about that statement. It was only when I stepped away from the industry did I truly realize no amount of money was worth who I was at the core. I was tired of stifling my natural beauty to become someone else’s ideal.
Photo Credit: Raydene Salinas/HuffPost