Today I was tasked with the job of telling the story of an object a thing I own. I am not someone who is very attached to many things. At first I considered telling the story of my engagement ring, but as many of my closest friends know, that story is still too heartbreaking to talk about.
So, I thought about it some more and decided to be a bit untraditional about my approach to this topic. The thing I've chosen to tell the story of is my hair.
My hair (like for most women) has been at times my best friend and my own worst enemy. A mixture of African inspired kink and curl with a hint of Spaniard softness and silk. Being Dominican, who knows where my hair really comes from- Africa, Spain, maybe a bit of French and Taino (Native American peoples of DR)
From the age of 10-21 I fought my hair's natural texture with relaxers, rollers, flat irons and blow dryers. I wanted nothing to do with my frizzy, fussy curls. Big hair was not cute. Natural hair was taboo. I fought my hair like I fought my identity. As long as I didn't know who I was or who I wanted to be (American? Dominican? Black? Hispanic/Latina?), my hair didn't either.
At 22, I finally threw my hands up in the air, set my insecurities aside and decided to stop relaxing my hair and go natural.(This was also about the time I discovered the term: Afro-Latina. Finally a word to describe ME!)
It was definitely a process! For the first couple of years I didn't know how to manage my mane. I endured ugly looks and rude comments from my abuelas and primas and generally kept my unruly strands in a pony tail.
I started chatting with some of my natural haired friends and even stopped to ask random women (with gorgeous curly hair similar to mine) in public what products they used to tame their tresses. I began to experiment with products until I found ones that worked. I fell in love with my hair.
I could walk out in the rain and not cringe or worry about messing it up. I could go swimming and actually stick my head under water. The humidity and Texas weather is still my arch nemesis, but I have found ways to combat it. Over the last 7 years, I've experimented with my curls from long to short. Dark to light. Bangs to bob. But I've never once regretted my decision.
I thought going natural would mean easier more carefree days, but naturally curly hair is actually a lot more maintenance. But I don't mind it. Do I still sometimes straighten my hair? Yes. But not because I'm fighting who I am, just because sometimes I need a change of pace or out of convenience if my hands are too swollen to manage my curls, straight hair is just a bit easier. I like putting the time and effort into my hair, especially if it inspires other girls to go natural as well.
As women, we are told that our hair is one of our top assets. We spend hundreds of dollars a year on products and services for our hair. Everyone's head of hair (or lack thereof) has a story. Sometimes it's a colorful one. Sometimes it's flat and ordinary. Other times it's full of life and lengthy. Whatever it is, know that like in life, you have the power to change your hair story at any time. Let your hair inspire and excite you but never let it define you.
Love your locks. Embrace the strands you've got.
To learn more about my hairvolution order a copy of my book!