The decision to no longer add chemicals to my hair was not a hard one for me. Through all the thoughts I had of how I would wear it, would I press everyday, how would this affect my professional look, I never thought about how it would affect my romantic relationships. That is until a summer of sporting lace front wigs just became too much. I went home after work and took a pair of scissors to my transitioning hair. Not the best idea, but I felt so free letting it go. But I still put my wig back on the next day for work. I went to the barber shop later that week and let him even up my new TWA aka (Teeny Weeny Afro).
I can’t remember if I decided the night before or in the morning when I was doing my makeup. I said, I’m not wearing that hot ___wig today. I walked into work with my head high sporting my runway walk like I do every morning, only this time I had only 2 inches of hair on my head. I heard people talking, but I didn’t care. Women chatter all the time, no matter what you do, or wear or say! But the one thing I wasn’t prepared for this day or any day after, was the reaction of every man in my life. Men from my Dad, to the mail man, to the waiter at my favorite joint all had given me praises on my appearance, somehow gathered the courage to tell me how much they hated my nappy hair. Comments like, “Why you did that?” “What happened to you over the weekend?” Offers to “get my hair fixed.” And a flat out, “I can’t stand a nappy headed woman,” had me reeling from anger to confusion to hurt!
Why would my black brothers talk to me this way? These brothers who claim they love a natural woman and can’t stand a woman with hard hair or a head full of weave. These brothers who loved my curves and easy smile, somehow could only focus on my now short locks!
I will admit that I had a hard time styling. I couldn’t find the right products. Ms. Jessies had me looking like Uncle Freddie. Quick Curls had me looking a Fast Mess! A male friend of mine, after giving my hair a confused looked, asked me why didn’t I put a flower or something in it (LOL!). I carried around a bottle of water to keep my fro looking moist! I washed every morning like my name was Becky and realized I didn’t have “good” hair and my hair wouldn’t maintain the wet look. Thankfully, I wasn’t seriously dating anyone at the time, I’m sure I could not have taken the criticism from my boo.
As the months went on I started sporting braids and hair weaves, just for a change of pace. I began to fret every time I met new guys. How would they respond to meeting me while wearing braids or weave and then later seeing me in my fro-ed out look? You see, I had heard harsh comments in these scenarios as well. I once went on a date with a guy who met me with my Rhianna bob sew-in, and had a very negative response to my natural look. He said ” You look like one of those treasure trolls on top of pencil us 80’s babies sported in elementary school…but you’re I was still cute though.” Wow! Thanks, that will help me sleep at night. I started to warn guys I was dating I was natural and my appearance would change if they stuck around a few months. Luckily for me, I had some good experiences too! I found whoever approved of my appearance loved the REAL me. I felt appreciated for my personality and intelligence.
By now all conversations of why I went natural have bored me to tears. I have no story I just wanted to do it for my hair. More importantly on this journey I have found I had to love the natural me, before I expected anybody else to do so. Men are drawn to confidence and I had to realize a few negative comments should not sway my self identity. I was still the same Teresa, physically and emotionally. Pressed, afro, weave, cornrows or braids accepting myself was the most important step on my natural hair journey.