I never really had a decision to go natural, I’ve always dreamed about wearing my hair natural so I’d sometimes wear braids to substitute my desire but It wasn’t until sophomore year of college that my dream of going natural would become a reality. I was neglecting my hair and it started to break off and became damaged so I began to hide it under weaves and wigs which gave my hair no mercy. By the end of my sophomore year I went home for the summer to get a touch-up and my hair dresser suggested I’d chop off the remainder of my perm. I only had a few minutes to ponder then she began chopping every little bit that I had leaving about 2 inches of new growth. That summer marked the breaking point to a lot of things happening in my life, but more importantly, my new journey into naturality.
Name: Mareesa Valentine
Location: Bay Area, California
Profession: writer & blogger, future Publicist and recent Hampton University Graduate
What was the hardest part of your journey?
The hardest part of the journey was in the beginning. Because I wasn’t given a transition period, I immediately hid my short hair in braids. It took me awhile to build my confidence in wearing my hair in such a way that was not the norm around my peers at school.
And the Best part?
The best part about my journey was exploring my individuality. I never realized how beautiful the texture of my hair was until I started going natural. Watching my hair grow and do things that I have never seen it do before is rewarding and I couldn’t imagine forcing my hair to do what it can’t do naturally ever again. Not to mention, I get more compliments when my hair is curly J
What did your hair journey teach you?
My journey to naturality has taught me confidence and individuality that I was lacking before I came to college. I am more comfortable in my own skin, with my nappy hair, than I will ever be.
Describe your worse hairdo and your best hairdo and please include a picture if you can.
My worst hair do was when I was when I go a full headed curly weave, it looks like a curly mess on top of my head and the white string used to tie it down wasn’t doing any justice. The best hairdo I have ever worn so far was the one I created myself for my Senior Ball at Hampton University. It a two-stand flat twisted up-do that I created from inspiration from YouTube videos.
Looking back, has your perception of your hair or black hair in general changed? Please elaborate.
Growing up I’ve always been engrossed in African American culture so black hair was and will always be and issue. My mother has worn locks for 12 years and by being surrounded by her holistic views it has only enhanced my perception. I know value not just being natural, but taking care of your hair properly so that whether it is chemically treated or not you know how to care for it. “Good Hair” only means “Healthy Hair” whether it’s short, long, natural, nappy, or curly.
What is your favorite hairstyle?
I have two! My favorite hairstyle that I like to wear daily is the two-strand twists. I use two different products to achieve the look; Murray’s loc gel & Jamaican Mango and Lime Locking Crème and Wax. When I am in between washes I like to pull my hair up into a afro puff, I find it very becoming when I want to go out on the town.
Can you please finish the following sentence: I love my hair because ..
I love my hair because it defines me. Every coil and strand tells a story of my struggle, my journey, and my aspirations as a black woman experiencing my Naturality.
By: Mareesa Valentine.
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