Congratulations on Going Natural

She looks at me and smiles with a hint of surprise coupled with a smidgeon of amusement. It’s at that point  I realized that my life on internet hairboards had crept into my offline life. I mean, it’s quite common place to celebrate someone’s decision to go natural online, but how often is it seen as something special out in the world?

This past weekend I was finally able to pin one of my friends down to help me color my hair. I could probably do it by myself but it’s a big help that she does it for me, quite frankly because she can see the back and I can’t.

Anyhoo, on Saturday we made an afternoon/evening of it. Now that I’ve got the routine down pat, 45 minutes after we finally got started, I had a full head of beautiful cocoa brown hair, courtesy of Clairol’s Texture and Tones line.

That’s the easy part. Then I had to take all those darned twists down, detangle, re-moisturize and retwist. I got most of them redone while we were watching some movies, but around midnight, I’d had enough and decided to finish up the next day.

On Sunday I still was not in the mood to touch my hair, but I was in the mood for a good ‘ole McDonald’s Big Breakfast. Hmmm… but what about my hair? I looked in the mirror and thought “Ok…the front doesn’t look too bad.” So I just kinda pinned it back as best I could and hopped around the corner to the drive thru. I ordered, paid at the first window and pulled up to the second one to get my breakfast and while the cashier was waiting for my order to come up, I noticed her very, very short hair. Her naturally nappy/curly hair was very cute.  At about the same time, my hair must have caught her eye as well.

“I love your hair,” she said. “Who does your twisties?”

Now why do folks alway compliment my hair when I’m in the MIDDLE of doing it, and have to run an errand and I go out with my hair half done?

While that thought dances quickly through my head, I smile and tell her I do my own hair.  She seemed to be quite surprised, as are most people, when I tell them I do my own hair.

“Wow…and you have virgin hair…right?” I nod. “Cause you can only do that on virgin hair,” she said. “See I just cut my hair again cause I’m growing my hair out. I wanna wear my hair like that.”

We continue on a little bit more about hair, and then in an attempt to wind down the conversation quickly as she hands my order out the window, I tell her “Congratualtion on going natural.”

She looks at me and smiles with a hint of surprise coupled with a smidgeon of amusement. It’s at that point I realize my life on internet hairboards had crept into my offline life. I mean, it’s quite common place to celebrate someone’s decision to go natural online, but how often is it seen as something special out in the world?

I shrug and quickly explain that I think it is wondeful that she wants to wear her hair natural cause it’s just not that prevalent anymore. She agrees, I get my food, we exchange goodbyes and I drive off.

As I head home, I’m still rather amused about the whole encounter because I can’t get over how much my thinking has been influenced by the internet hairboards.

How about you? Has something like this ever happened to you before?

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Comments
8 Responses to “Congratulations on Going Natural”
  1. Tashina says:

    I am quite hesitant to offer a comment as I am afraid that the person I had the conversation with will read this lol. I guess I embarrass easily. ^_^

    I live in a suburb (South Side of Chicago) where it is extremely rare to see someone who is natural, especially in the younger crowd. (Black) People can be quite vicious and willfully ignorant out here. For example, I was riding in the car with my mother and a man signaled her as if he was going to ask her for directions. She rolled down the window (passengers side-my seat) and he screamed at me “You look like Chewbacca!” (I was wearing my hair in a puff, fyi)

    That pretty much sums up the majority of the mentality that I have come across. I can see why someone would be hesitant to go natural (especially when the people you would like to imagine would support you are actually the ones who beat you down). Natural hair is NOT something that is celebrating in my community unless you are mixed and/or have the ‘good hair’. It is incredibly rare that in the almost two years I’ve been natural I will come across someone else who is trying to be/already natural. Black women around here prefer relaxers, weaves, etc., and the majority of the time I can’t understand why because it doesn’t look good (or it just looks obvious).

    So when I actually came across someone in Target (oddly enough after I was telling my sister that its about time they put some Cantu on the shelves) I was SERIOUSLY surprised. I am sad now because I cannot remember her name, but she was the once who actually approached me and asked how long I had been natural. We talked back and forth for a few minutes, and it felt a little odd because I am so used to having the internet as a ‘support system’. We talked a little about products and styles (she actually happened to catch me with four boxes of baking soda in my bag lol). It was just refreshing to be around something familiar, and I’m not even talking about hair, but a familiar mentality.

    I too was amused at my encounter because I found myself talking about the exact same things that I come across on blogs and message boards (of which I believe she said she is a member as well).

  2. Carisa says:

    I just started reading this blog and I love it. Nice job!

    I can’t say that I have had a negative comment about my hair. The “chewbacca” comment the above poster experienced was so ignorant and not even clever. It’s really a shame how mean people can be.

    It has been nine years since the BC and I’ve had dreadlocks for five years. I grew up and worked in the Philadelphia area for years and I now reside in Oregon. I’ve always had people compliment me on my hair; I think it definitely makes a difference depending on what part of the country you live in. In some places, people are doing their own thing and don’t have time to judge you. I see more white people here in Oregon with dreads than black people, lol. Many black folks are so used to frying their hair, they are brainwashed into thinking straight hair is better and easier to handle than curly/kinky hair.

    I am actually going to cut my dreads off pretty soon and start fresh again! I can’t wait to comb my hair again, I love it!

  3. Yeska says:

    Chewbacca… wow. Extremely ignorant!

    That’s really funny because I live in Washington State. Same thing – more white people with dreds than black. I’ve been pretty lucky in my transition (I decided to go natural just in April – on my dad’s birthday actually), and I’ve had nothing but support from my friends and family.

    The thing i’ve noticed the most is how OBSESSED I am with my new growth! I’m constantly touching my curls and marveling on how much I like them. I can’t wait until they are longer and I can start styling them.

    Thank you for websites like this one where I can read about other women who are just going natural, or who have been natural for a long time. It gives me the motivation to NEVER EVER relax my hair again! 🙂

  4. Nedra says:

    What an interesting story. It’s so sad that lots of people don’t realize that the “norm” for black women is to not wear what is our own natural hair. I recently caved in after 2 years of going natural (again) and chemically killed…I mean, straightened, my hair. I’d thought I was done with such foolishness, but I now know that if I caved in again, I still have hair issues. Now I have to start going natural all over again…

    My husband (who seems to love me no matter what my hair looks like) actually asked me, “Why did you do that?” I don’t think he just asked me that because of my tendency to complain over the last 12 years of marriage every time I’d cave in to the peer pressure.

    If I had a similar story, I’d say it’s the ridiculous things other black women say to me when they say, “Well, you’ve got the FACE for wearing your hair natural. I could never do it.”

    What?!

    I’m ashamed that I chemically straightened (and chemically burned myself again) my crown and glory, but I’ll live with the consequences.

    Also, a few days before I’d permed it, a man–a stranger–had called me beautiful—with my natural hair and all.

    When will this ever be over for black women? When will we get to the point where we love what grows out of our scalps and we recognize that we already have the “face” for the hair we were born with.

    Ugh!

    I’m still thankful for your column, even if I DO only pop up every few months.

    God bless you as you continue your natural journey.

  5. nappyme says:

    Hi Nedra,
    Sorry to hear that you relapsed. Wow. It happens…ya know?

    I think no matter what, many of us will always have some sort of issue with our natural hair. Personally, I can’t stand to wear my hair loose. Puffs? Afros? While cute, they’re just to much for me to deal with. Additionally, the longer my hair gets, the more have to psyche myself up to styling it from scratch. As a result, I hardly ever have an entirely loose head of hair to deal with.

    But the day I decided NOT to relax again, I never looked back. And since pressing/flat ironing my hair is an option either, nappy I’ll stay till I die.

    Good luck on your new journey and glad to know that you still pop in…even if it’s only every few months lol!

    Take care,
    ~Nappyme

  6. Joyce says:

    I have been wearing the twists for almost four years now and absolutely love then. My hair is worn in twists mainly because it is easy to maintain. I enjoy wearing the twist out, however, don’t like the maintenance. I receive a lot of compliments from males and females on my hair. Of course, I am proud of my hair and wear my hair style gracefully. It is up to us to educate others about our hair and wear it proudly. My daughter and granddaughter are now wearing the twists because they just love my hair.
    Thanks for all your help.

  7. A. Spence says:

    Most of my compliments come from non-blacks. All other races love my transitioning styles and those of my race think I’m crazy. lol

  8. ms-gg says:

    Sometimes I have a hard time of deciding just how deep I should get into discussion with people who ask me what products I use. Should I tell them I use glycerin based products because of moisture, or just tell them I use world of curls and leave it as that? Should I give out my fotki page address for more info or maybe nappturality, or will they think I am nuts for being THAT involved with my hair and joining a hair community.
    During the beginning of my journey I let my internet hair life spill out into my real life because I spent a great deal of my time on the internet. I don’t find it weird though, maybe others around me might disagree.
    But what you did with that girl, I don’t see it as weird or crazy. I’m sure it was a highlight for her to have someone to compliment her hair as a lot of times as new nappies we face so much scrutiny and criticism, it’s a breathe of fresh air to talk to someone as passionate about hair as we are.

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