I have natural hair.
I went natural in 2010 because I was tired of being defined by my hair (being that Black girl with long hair became tiring). On a day in January I went and had my big chop done. I left the shop feeling amazing. I’ve felt amazing about my natural hair every single day since. The thing that continues to excite me about my hair is its versatility. Having the ability to change my hairstyle on a whim just works for me.
What does bother me about the natural hair movement is the audacity of some other naturals who insist on policing other women’s hair.
After much deliberation, research on salons, and negotiating with my bank account (graduate student life is hard), I decided to get a sew-in. I wanted a new hairstyle that was: protective, easy to care for, and required little-to-no heat. A sew in just seemed like the right way to go since I had previously tried senegalese and havana twists. I went to a salon that had done a blowout and trim for me before that offered a $99 sew-in. I came up out of that salon with a long bob that looked similar to my own hair when it’s blown-out, just cuter.
After posting pictures of my new ‘do on the Instagram, the Facebook, and the Twitter – I walked into my first class on Monday morning like:
My adviser teaches my first class and she complimented me on my hair saying that she hardly sees me with straight hair. I told her jokingly that this wasn’t my hair followed by some other hair related banter for about two seconds until out of nowhere the only other Black woman in the class (also a natural) goes:
“I hardly ever straighten my hair. I’ve only ever straightened my hair twice in the whole time I’ve been natural”
My visceral reaction to this comment was to say “who asked you to be in this conversation?” But I let it slide because I quickly realized what bothered me about the comment. Instead, I sat through class and stewed on it. At the break I bought some chamomile tea and sipped that while I jotted down my feelings about the situation… two of those thoughts were:
Don’t come for me unless I send for you
I need alladis chamomile tea right now
What pissed me off the most about her comment wasn’t the fact that she interrupted my compliment; but that she, in a very quick and hurtful way, attempted to police me and my hair. She did that thing that some naturals do when they make comments about what it really means to be natural: no weave, no color, no heat. My best response to these women is always a girl, bye because what you aren’t going to do is draw boundaries around me and my hair and attempt to dictate how/when/why I style it how I please.
What does this boundary drawing do for you anyway, but alienate you from potential sister-friends?
And I still look fly.