I’m tired of being shamed for not liking my natural hair.
Didn’t India Arie tell us all, “I am not my hair?”
So why are the naturalistas always coming for me for not wanting to wear it out?
Some background: I have low density, fine hair. It is healthy and trimmed, and I just don’t like it. I was born in a family of five girls, all very close in age, so my mama started relaxing our hair to make early mornings before school just a little easier. No self-loathing involved.
Despite my long history with relaxers, when the natural hair movement re-emerged in the early 2010s, I was so for it.
The message of healthy scalp, no chemicals and pride in what grows naturally from you was so important to Black women everywhere.
I was unintentionally ahead of the curve. I had done a “big chop” before it was even called that when I first got to college just because my perm started to break off my delicate locks.
So when everyone started cutting out their weaves and free rocking it proudly, when I officially “de-threaded” I was super disappointed.
I didn’t have a thick fro hiding beneath my Malaysian grade hair. What I had were beautiful coils, finely dangly at my shoulders.
9 years of being natural and it’s still the same. Longer, but the same.
Where my personality is vibrant and huge and expressive, my hair falls flat.
Looking to my YouTube sisters wasn’t much help either. What was initially a unifying moment, quickly became texture wars as women with thick curly long hair began dominating the natural hair conversation in popularity and representation.
Do you know how deeply I had to search to find fine-haired, low density twist out tutorials? They barely exist because twist outs and braid outs and Bantu knots actually make thin fine hair look thinner (in my experience, leave a comment if you have felt differently).
I’m tired of being told that I’m just not using the right product. I’m tired of being told to inhale horse pills in order to keep up with the natural Joneses. I’m tired of being told it’s because I’m not healthy or drinking enough water. I’m tired of being told if I dont use a blow dryer more than once a year my hair will grow down my back. And most of all, I’m tired of being told I have to love my texture to love myself.
It’s a guilt trip that is working against my genetic make up.
My mom told me in the 70s when natural hair was big, she would add afro puffs to her curly tresses to fit in with the trend. Hundreds of dollars of product trials isn’t going to change my DNA.
While I appreciate my curly tresses for their silky texture, bounce, and uniqueness, the flat look is just not the look I want to rock. Not in this lifetime atleast.
So can I live? Can I not rock my natural hair in peace?
If I am not my hair than stop telling me I have to like it to like myself.