I’m More Than My Curls: Natural Hair & Self Worth


Do you remember the first time you transitioned to your natural curls? All those times that you washed and deep conditioned it and said to yourself, “What is my hair really going to look like if I do this?”

Some naturalistas are or have been placed in this position.

Let’s consider what African American hair has experienced before reaching transition: As a child, any twisting hairstyle packed with petroleum jelly worked for your mom. By adolescence, questioning of personal appearance began when paying close attention to your hair came into play. Questions like, “Wow, my hair looks a hot mess today… I wonder if people can see my roots…Oh god, if they can then I’m not going anywhere.”

For some, the escape route has been the turban/head wrap or ponytail. Even with those, the fear of your hair escaping keeps your hands at constant demand to fix it and insecurities to heighten.

Women of all ages, natural or not, have experience this common conversation with themselves every time they glance in the mirror. The most confident woman, African American women especially, the word “natural” can send women to the next beauty salon to get those curly roots taken care of, but it’s really their self-esteem that may need a major repair.

For those beginning their natural journey, there is a mix of women who are comfortable with the choice to transition as they are aware of the goal: healthy hair.

But never forget that there are women also looking for healthy hair too, but are caught in a crossroad between their own reasoning and the negative thoughts given towards natural hair. Some are so scared to transition that the use of a texturizer might make the experience more bearable, but in reality, it helps to ease the natural hair transition but is essentially a semi-relaxer with waves added to it.

There is no secret to achieving natural hair to be the next Naptural85, but the essential key to natural hair is not just the process of reducing heat and better hair practices, but recognizing your own natural beauty and embracing it.

My co-worker and Georgia Southern University senior Mallory Fannin told me in a conversation that we shared about our natural hair journeys, “After a year and three months of being natural, I permed my hair.  This was the biggest mistake of my life.  I was trying to conform to the rest of the world.”

As you adapt your hair to what is expected of you in society, you may have no idea that you are changing yourself for society, not for you. Reconsider your choices of your hair and self-worth by acknowledging your natural beauty, not society.

 [By Olivia Murphy]

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