I am a black women teaching and living in Kuwait with natural hair. I point those specific things out not to separate myself from others, but to explain that these are parts of me. I am not sure why you are here reading but is to my purpose to present my perspective on life. My hope is that you will finish reading feeling encouraged to be yourself and want to come back for more inspiration. I have many stories to tell and at this moment I want to open up about my natural hair journey. It is my intention to be transparent about my life and share things along the way. So the next couple of weeks my natural hair journey will be the focus.
For those who do not know, being natural is not putting any chemicals in your hair. A lot of black women use chemicals to make their hair more manageable and usually start getting them at a young age. My first perm was when I was around 10 or 11. I was convinced that the relaxer would make my hair grow longer and faster. I thought that I would not have to worry about getting burned by the hot comb. After having a relaxer for a while, my hair was thinning out and I didn’t like the process of getting one. The burning feeling was very uncomfortable. So when I was 12, I decided to stop getting it. I knew I could cut my hair, but my 12-year-old mind wasn’t ready for such a big step. So I did what most people do when they are not ready to “big chop” their hair, I let the relaxer grow out. Eventually, my hair grew out to a certain length and I cut off the perm. I was in middle school.
By the time I reached high school I had been natural for a few years and decided that I will start my locs after my senior year. However, I couldn’t wait that long and started my locs at the end of my junior year of High School. I was so excited about my first set of locs that I didn’t mind the stages. The “ugly stage” didn’t phase me because I wanted locs so bad. I remember I had a book on locs title Nice Dreads by Lonnie Brittenum Bonner and I couldn’t wait until my hair grew long like the authors. I remember reading articles online all about locs. My hair finally looked like locs at some point during my senior year and at another point in my senior year I died them red, but it actually came out orange. By the time I graduated the orange darkened up and look like brown. My hair grew to shoulder length at that time.
Short Hair Don’t Care
I thought I would wait until I was 30 to do the “ big chop”, but when I was 23 I decided to cut my locs and wore a tapered cut. At the time I cut my hair because I wanted to transform and I wanted to feel new. I really wanted to feel like a new person and I thought a new look would help me change some old habits. It didn’t help. What really helped me to change was a new perspective and maturity. Regardless I loved the shortcut on me and it fit me.
Having short hair was the most liberating experience because I did not wake up in the morning wondering what I was going to do with my hair. I washed it any time I felt like it, every day sometimes. Before I cut my hair, I wanted to cut it for a while. I cut my locs twice before I cut them all off. I didn’t wake up one morning and decide to cut my hair. It was something I knew I would do eventually. Some people didn’t understand why I would grow my hair so long and then cut it. My goal was never to have long hair, even though I appreciated it. My goal was always healthy hair. As long as my hair was healthy I was happy.
Locs the Second Time Around
After I wore my hair short for a couple of years I let my hair grow out to loose natural. While there are a lot of styles I liked, (twist out and side braid were among my favorite), loose natural was my least favorite way to wear my hair. I got tired of detangling and fighting with my strands. I decided to loc my hair again because my hair wants to loc. I didn’t want to cut my hair off because it would be hard to maintain a nice cut in Kuwait. The barbershops here are only for men. I also missed having locs. It’s been about 7 months since I started, so I am still in the beginning stages.
But what about you? Are you natural? How long have you been natural? Are you considering the natural lifestyle? What are your doubts? What are your pros and cons of being natural?