The decision to go natural is not an easy one for women of color. Even when it’s clear that straightening is the cause of their severe damage, many women rather not make this choice for two main reasons: the fear of rejection and because they are alienated from their god-given natural texture.
Fear of rejection
The biggest obstacle that women of color, who toy with the idea of going natural, have to face is the fear of rejection. Some people downplay this but it’s very real. The old skool notion of good/bad hair still runs deep in our culture. It has almost unconsciously passed on from generation to generation and there has never been a healing process.Often we don’t even know where this difficult-to-put-your-finger-on fear comes from but the healing has got to start somewhere to help break the cycle.
A mother who tells her daughter that her natural hair is uglier than pubic ape hair, clearly projects her intense bad hair fears on to her daughter. The same goes for the mother who first checks the texture of her new born child as well as the mother who negatively comments on her little daughter’s hair while styling it. Just a few examples of how deep fears are being passed on.
Managing and styling
Another major obstacle of going natural is dealing with natural hair or even the idea of it. After a lifetime of straightening, we are alienated from our stigmatized coils and strongly believe that nappy hair is too hard to manage. Even if the decision to go natural is an easy one, transitioning seems to be a challenge because we have no clue what to do with our hair. However, this appears to be more of a mental challenge than a practical one.
In our mind struggling with blow dryers, hot combs and rollers seems normal but dealing with our God-given texture does not. We are so used to the struggles of straight hair, that we forget that there was a time when we also had to learn how to deal with straightened hair. Our believe that styling natural hair is difficult is so strong that we even forget that we naturally know the basics of natural hair styling; we can all make a braid and a twist.
A few tips
If you feel that going natural is hard for you, try to find out what your major obstacle is.
If it’s fear of rejection you should know that you don’t have to let everybody know that you are going natural. Make sure you are ready to communicate before you tell the ones you fear will reject you. When you are ready be sincere. Then tell them why you took this decision as well as your honest fears of going natural. Don’t worry about rejection. When you are sincere people who care won’t reject you. They will understand your choice and may even support your journey.
If your major hurdle is dealing with natural hair just take your time. It’s not difficult, all you need is a little patience. Remember that it took quite some practice to get used to rollers, blow-dryers and whatnot. If you can make a twist or a braid you have what it takes to take care of your natural hair. You just have to learn how to enjoy it.