Au Natural Hair
I made a decision. It was a decision that produced some extremely positive reactions, and others that were not so positive. For months, I had been going through the torturous relaxer grow out phase. My near shoulder-length hair had been breaking and splitting and looked quite unattractive.
I did not know what to do with my hair. Heck, I didn’t even know if I wanted hair, anymore. That’s how bad it was becoming. Trying to comb my hair was synonymous with raking it. One morning, I woke up feeling like I had two options-either cut it off or keep it.
When I cut my hair, I felt liberated. In my mind, there would be no going back to that relaxer. It just wasn’t me. I wanted to be au natural. Cutting my hair in my senior year of college symbolized that I was really coming into my own. It was my statement that I was comfortable and confident with who I was becoming. Interestingly enough, my decision to cut my hair and sport a Nefertiti hairstyle (as it was called then), sparked my mother and grandmother to do the same with theirs. I guess I looked at myself as a bit of trendsetter. But, this still was a bold step for someone who had a lot of hair all her life.
I cut my hair during an era when there were those who were increasingly growing disgusted with relaxers. Sisters were locking, twisting, or just cutting it all off. After it was all said and done and clumps of hair lay on the barber shop floor, I bravely looked in the mirror and saw a new me. I really thought my haircut was “da bomb”, and I felt like my God-given beauty was truly exposed. But, I had a few dissenters.
But I did have a couple of dissenters. The man I began dating after I cut my hair, had a sister who told us both that I looked unfeminine with short hair. No one else had ever stated that openly, but I wondered if others were silently in agreement. Such biting remarks ensued for months, and toward the latter portion of the relationship, I decided to do something drastic —again.
I call it experiencing a moment of temporary insanity. Yes, I relaxed my hair. I wanted to grow my hair and the only way I concluded I could do so was to relax it again. I was wearing one of those costly Halle Berry dos, the kind that needs weekly maintenance. I wore crimps and gold and burgundy glitter sprayed all over the front, until somebody pulled me to the side and told me it was a bit much. I chalk it up to another adventurous phase in my life.
When my hair really started growing, I got sick of the relaxer. So, I made the decision once again to let the relaxer grow out. I admit that going back and forth signaled I was a bit indecisive about what I wanted to do with my hair. I wore my hair short and natural for about four years, and it was easy to maintain. But I wanted a change. I wanted hair again. Strangely enough, though, this period of temporary insanity aided me in arriving at a point where my hair is once again near shoulder length, thick, full, healthy and drawing a lot of attention. Oh yes, it is completely au natural.
During the grow out phase, I would occasionally have my hair pressed and curled or corn braided and twisted. Yet, such hair care services were beginning to run up a tab, too. I knew there had to be a better way because I just couldn’t afford this type of upkeep. Besides, I wasn’t one to wear braids for longer than three to six weeks. Six weeks was a miracle. In essence, I was wasting money.
Then one Sunday morning, I found myself doing something to my hair I had never done before. I was preparing for church and I really did not know what I was going to do with my hair. I had washed it the night before, and let it air dry, as I always do. I attest that a mystical power touched my hands that morning. I began to part my hair and flat twist it. I didn’t even look in the mirror (and I still don’t). I mean, it was some kind of divine inspiration because I had never done this before.
I find it hard to try to explain what occurred that morning. These are not the kinds of experiences one can explain. All I know is it was God, and only God. I hadn’t seen others wear their hair the way I had styled or designed mine that morning. I do say design because I consider it a work of art. My hair’s willingness to yield to creative influence is awesome.
Upon arriving at church, one of the members approached me and just marveled at what I had done to my hair. I thought it looked nice, but I didn’t know what others thought, and I didn’t expect comments or compliments. It was such an unusual hairstyle that if I had to get used to it, I knew others would have to, also.
Nevertheless, there were indeed compliments. Shortly thereafter, one person from church did ask me to twist her hair. I obliged her, though I stated that I wasn’t sure how it would turn out. I was growing so accustomed to and comfortable with doing my own hair that I didn’t think I could create the same or similar results on someone else’s hair. Needless to say, I thought I did a mediocre job on the sister’s hair. She, on the other hand, liked my work and said others did, too.
At least three years have transpired since I last did flat twists other than on my own hair. In July, a woman who had come to my former office for a meeting stopped me and raved about my hair. This continued for a good 10 minutes. I was flattered and humbled. As our conversation continued, we learned that we had a spiritual connection. I explained to her that I did not make it a practice of taking clients. I was able to relay my conviction that this was a gift God placed in my hands for my hair. I couldn’t be so sure that I would achieve the same results with her hair.
Nevertheless, she had confidence in me. A few days before meeting this woman, several other women had approached me at a religious convention in New York City and marveled at my hair. While I had not been working the gift on anybody else, I was beginning to wonder if God was telling me it was time to do so. Less than two weeks later, the woman from the office and her granddaughter became my first “professional” clients.
Before I worked on each head, I prayed. I blessed my hands and asked for inspiration. God heard and answered my prayers because I was amazed at the outcomes.
Money was never my motivation for doing their hair. But I got PAID. I just wanted to see what I could do, take pictures for my portfolio, and hopefully make two people very happy with the results. My senior client said she paid me the amount she did because she was making an investment in my business. It’s nice to know that someone recognized and rewarded my potential.
For me, this transference of creative and divine inspiration into hair can only be a gift from God. In the days and months to come, this may become a lucrative business for me. I’m taking it one day at a time, as I let God lead. We shall see what the end’s gonna be.