"No!, I could never go without my perm." "Natural? Who me? Never." "Some people need to get perms, and I am one of those people." , I said with confidence. Every five to six weeks, without fail for thirty years of my life, I relaxed my hair. The older I got, the more I hated that time. My scalp would burn and I'd suffer through it successfully only to deal with a tender scabby scalp in the coming weeks.
After a major bout of acne last year, I decided to make a few lifestyle changes. I was no longer going to get my hair relaxed. I was going to eat better and exercise more. After thirty years, that was it. I 'd had enough.
I kept protective styles, waited for the chemical to grow out, and then chopped the permed ends off. --Is this considered a "big chop"? -- It doesn't really matter what we call it. All that matters is that I'm here.
You see, it's not just about being natural because chemicals are bad for my skin. Pasting that stuff on my scalp for thirty years every six weeks, was obviously not a good idea. Its about pointing out that I accomplished something that I'd never thought I could.
What prompted my previous way of thinking? Was it really because my hair in its natural state was so hard to handle? Was it because I thought being natural was too much work? Was I just attached to my silky smooth shiny pin curls?
"Some people need to get perms and I am one of those people." Somewhere in my subconscious I had developed this idea that I could only be pretty with my hair in its relaxed state. I had conditioned myself, based on the conditioning of others, to believe that only straight, soft, easy to manage hair is nice hair. Looking in the mirror and appreciating who is looking back at you, becomes difficult, especially if all you can see is someone who needs to change in order to be accepted. As you're reading right now, I'm sure you can think of a list of things that you'd like to change about yourself, as can I. Now, for me, that list no longer includes my hair. Don't get me wrong, I love myself and all my little quirks, but I REALLY LOVE MY HAIR.
Photography: Mia Greene, @greeneeyephotography
Mua: Toya McKay, @makeupmyselfclub
Hair: Kimistre Salon, @mystylistkimistre