By Erin Ezell
Disclaimer: Throughout this piece, I will probably refer to my hair as my mane. One of my spirit animals is a lion, so it just makes sense to me to use the term for my hair. Also, my hair actually does kind of look like a lion’s mane. Now that this is out of the way…
I am going to be completely honest. I don’t exactly have this amazing natural hair journey story. There was a simple reason why I decided to go natural—I wanted to see what my curls would look like.
I was relaxed for pretty much all of my life, and I loved it. My hair was healthy, long, and thick. I didn’t see a reason to change that. I am a very impulsive person, and I love changing up my hair. Out of the blue one day (after going down the rabbit hole of natural hair videos on YouTube), I decided that I was going to transition to natural. The big chop was way too permanent and never an option for me. Did I stick to it? Absolutely not! Nobody told me how much work transitioning was going to be. Even though I had mastered a braid out and would alternate between that and straightening my hair, your girl was OVER IT! I relaxed my hair after about 8 months. A couple of months later, I decided to give it another try. This time, I knew what to expect and had decided that there was no going back. I transitioned for some months and slowly cut my relaxed ends off. In December 2017, I cut the last of my relaxed hair off and have been living the natural life since.
There was never a time in my life where I didn’t hold my hair near and dear to my heart, even when I wore it in a ponytail almost every day in middle school. It has always been precious to me. My love for my mane has only grown since going natural. The longer my hair grows and the bigger my puff gets, I just fall in love. There is something freeing about wearing my mane. I love experimenting with colors and styles. I am always changing up my hair color. I could hear the natural hair community gasp loudly as I typed that. *rolls eyes and laughs* It’s okay y’all. My mane is well taken care of. We good over here!
Compliments on my natural hair hit way different than those on my relaxed hair. They mean more to me. Why? Because when I was relaxed, I was convinced that I would not look right with natural hair. What does that even mean? How could I not look right with the hair that God gave me? That’s ridiculous, right? And the sad thing is that I was the one who had convinced myself of this. No matter how self-assured we are, it always feels great to get affirmation from other people. Hearing “okay, hair” or “goals” or “come on hair” is just so great! It really makes my day! This is especially true in a world that will try to convince you that the hair that grows out of your head is somehow unprofessional. Are you mad because my hair is bigger and better? Or are you mad because it’s something else that you won’t be able to do? LOL. Okay, I’m done being shady y’all.
Being natural has helped me embrace my quirkiness and has given me the confidence to be big and bold. I used to try to scale back my personality, because I felt like I could be a bit much for some people—but I am done shrinking to make other people feel comfortable. The only shrinkage we allow over here is our hair, because that’s how we know it’s healthy. In the words beautifully sung by my good sis Solange, “Don’t touch my hair.” (Unless you ask or we are just cool like that, then I don’t mind.)