Token Black Girl

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Naturalista or stuck up diva?

Okay, so in February of 2011 I stopped perming my hair. Yep, I gave up my chemical dependency. It was hard, and I mean HARD! It is not a journey for everyone, let me tell you. There were several days where I wanted to just give up and go back to perming my hair. Transitioning was a pain, to put it nicely.

You see, I haven't the balls (or cheek structure) to do the big chop. Let's be honest. I'm way to vain to walk around with little to no hair. You can say I'm brain washed by modern ideals of beauty all you want, that changes nothing. The "big-chop" simply wasn't for me. I took the slow and steady route. It was tough, but worth it.It may seem that this entry is about my telling the tale of my natural transition, but really it's not. It is about what I learned, not about my hair, but about my community.

At first I was afraid of how people would react to my perm-free lifestyle change, and I did get some interesting reactions, but what I disliked more was the strange sense of elitism I found in many natural hair communities. As I mentioned before, this transition isn't for everyone. That's great. It's a choice. I wore permed hair for years, what do I look like hating on those who still do? As I journeyed through many different sites though, I found that many, many natural hair divas were just that... divas.

Oh, how they go on and on about how this is the best and really the only way to take good care of African descendant hair. There are even bad names for those who chose not to convert, "permies" being the one I hated most, especially since my perm didn't fully grow out for more than a year as I transitioned. Many even hated on women who wore weaves and wigs, even to transition, because none of it was as "honest" or "healthy" as the "big-chop".Since when was their a hierarchy in black hair care? Who died and made naturals rule supreme?

At first I felt a little secluded. There was no way I was cutting off all my hair so was I not good enough for these people? Furthermore, just because I'm not perming does not mean I'm giving up the right to rock a weave. I might want to be a red head with soft waves down my back one weekend. I'm a woman, and that's my prerogative. It doesn't make me less "real" than my other natural sisters. I don't find my identity in my choice of hair care. That was when it hit me... they did.

A lot of these women had wrapped up their whole identity in this new wave of wearing natural black hair. I'm with it, thus the natural hair these days, but it doesn't define me. I define me in action and deeds alike. My character has nothing to do with my appearance, nor should it. I don't hate on my sisters with perms, presses, flat irons, wigs and weaves. Every woman should do what makes her feel beautiful, not accepted into some strange social group. For now, my kinks make me feel special, pretty, and a little bit sexy. They don't stand for anything else in my life though. It's just a hairstyle. If I could send any message to my fellow Nauturalistas, it would be, in the words of India.Arie, "I am NOT my hair"... and either are you.

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