For the longest time we have been alive, I’ve learned that there is a lot that I need to learn and relearn about myself over and over again. And the biggest natural hair lesson was about my hair itself.
It seems that for many people, when the natural hair movement started, it was impossible for us to believe that our hair could be this long and especially this long in our own natural hair texture, now, more than ever it’s becoming a norm and naturals are finding easy ways to maintain it and still have it growing longer.
With weaves and braids coming in and out of the trends, we have learned different techniques to protect our hair for longer periods of time as it was natural for us (at first) to reject the idea that natural hair could get long and it can do that without being manipulated into something that it is not, that is, straight hair.
So what lessons can we learn about having natural that also reflects on our self awareness?
One thing I know for sure is that when we used to install the tight protective styles back then, was to hide the ugly that is underneath. (Don’t come for me naturals, for a long time, we did think our hair was ugly, so we hid it underneath because we didn’t know how to deal with it. We know better now)
So we would just run to the salon to fix the unwanted hair that’s both matted at the root and dried up at the ends. We simply didn’t know how to care for it nor had the patience to do that so we would run to the salon or friend/cousin that could fix our natural hair.
So when we got into the natural hair movement, the one thing that stood out for many of us is that we had to be very patient. Patient in learning about it. Patient in caring and maintaining it, and most importanly patient in waiting for it to grow like the people we see on our social medias.
Once we got ourselves in our own journeys, conviced that relaxers are bad for us, got every oil we saw online, we were ready to start this journey but the 4 minute vidoe of the growth journey we see made us believe that we could literally grow our hair in exactly 4 minutes. Unfortulately for most of us, our expectations were not met, not even in a year, so we fell back on our old ways.
But for most of us, we continued, we grew patient with our natural hair. For many of us, we didn’t even know how our actual natura hair texture looked like. For many more of us, we frowned upon certain hair textures because we believed that there are certain black people who have to be mixed with other races for them to have this texture to begin with – there was a lot to learn and it has been a rocky ride to learn about our natural hair care and the lessons that come with that.
But we had to be patient for ourselves and for others. We helped others to learn the same patience we had with ourselves. And sometimes we compared ourselves with those who we see on our devices, so we did rash decisions. But for some of us learned to grow in love with what is on our crowns. We learned that sometimes we don’t want to deal with it and that’s ok, so we put it up in a bun and continue with our lives until we are mentally ready to deal with it.
For many of us, we have learned a lot about how patient we have to be with it, because we like our hair. We like how it feels and how it immediately transforms once water touches it. We love how versitile it is and every now and again, we put it in some braids because life has it’s own demands. We learned to care for our skin, we learned to love it in it’s different shades of brown. We had to learn to be patient with the mentality around many people who frowned on our hair because they said it was unprofessional.
We learned how to be patient with each other when some one reached waist length faster than we did. We saved a lot of pictures of styles that we one day would do that we still have not yet done. We learned how to be patient with everything else around us. We understood that being patient with things while feeding into them and investing time into them will grow. Like our careers, businesses, families, faith is the same investment. Through time and patience and natural hair isn’t any different.
Now this one is a bit of a personal one for me simply because brushing your teeth and giving yourself a bath seem like it is just a simple way to start a day. But when the topic specifically said self care, I thought to myself how is this different from the normal way of caring for your self. But I saw that many of us go through life looking out for everything and everyone else except us.
This is true for many women because we fighting against a lot and it’s so exshausting at times because many of us wear different hats at the same time.
That’s a hectic amount of weight to care and without help even! So when we do wake up in the morning and brush our teeth and shower, it doesn’t really come in our minds that we are carrying this body for the rest of our lives and we don’t even care for it. We end the week sitting in front of the TV and we dread the coming week. That’s why things like selfcareSunday came about. People we are human and we need rest. That’s what the end of the week is for. To grab a book and get lost in it. To ACTUALLY take a bath and soak in our bodies in some bit of luxury.
To give ourselves a good wash day. A long one. And reflect on the previous week while looking forward to the coming one. Self care gives you the chance to look inwards instead of looking at the phone and hurting yourself by comparing yourself with people. It gives you a chance to look at your skin, your body, your mental health and obviously the overall state of your health.
It helps you accept who you are as you are. And even in the fustrations of wash day, as time goes by, you play a playlist of songs that you haven’t heard in a while, watch a movie or catch up on your favourite news. The business of life and of social media has caused the world to stop appreciating little things, in fact, seeing little things done in social media has made people who enjoy those things seem mediocre, but we don’t have to believe that if our joy lies in the simple things such as self care.
Much like self care, accepting who you are as a natural, your skin tone and color, your curl pattern – or rather – patterns is part of self acceptance. We won’t be so fustrated with things (or hairstyles) not coming the way we want because we are honest with who we are and we can work with what we have. Rather than hurting our own feelings with what we see online, we learn to realisticly set expectations, and as naturals that could be things like:
– Accepting that our hair doesn’t like what many natural’s like
– Accepting that our hair won’t come out the same way in a style as others do.
– Accepting that our hair practises *MAY* do more damage than good.
– Accepting that we may be doing too much or we are being too impatient.
– Accepting our genes don’t grow our hair as fast as we would like.
The list goes on.
So with that all being said, I know the natural hair community is buzzing (and will be for a long time) but I knope in that journey that naturals learn more about themselves while they learn about their own hair more than they do with other people’s hair.