Archive | December, 2017

New Growth

8 Dec

Hair is a historically precious currency in the Black community–its length, style and texture was both the owner’s passport and credit rating.

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In the days where straight hair ruled supreme, those with naturally kinky textures had to convert this raw material through chemicals and/or hot combs into a more socially acceptable mass.

But the magic was simply temporary. Within a matter of time, water, sweat or simple new growth–a fresh crop of raw, unprocessed, unstraightened hair–foiled the transformation. Like Cinderella’s golden carriage gave way to its pumpkin origins, the tight coils would always eventually return.

I’ve been natural since college. . .kinda. I couldn’t wait to leave home and all I knew to start fresh with my unprocessed, unstraightened curls. Haha. It was much harder than I imagined.

My attempts at twists, afros and everything in between looked nothing like images I dreamed of. For me, it represented the change from the girl I was to the woman I wanted to be: free, empowered and confident. A woman embracing what she was naturally given.

But the reality simply didn’t match the ideal. I had no idea how to manage, style and maintain what grew from my head. Luckily, one of the girls on campus helped me. She would transform my hair through intricate braids and designs. Love her for it.

My dreadlock journey is about nine years old. But like my initial naturalhair trials, it hasn’t been an easy one.

I had to learn how to care for them. Through warm weather, cold weather, through hair color, through thinning ends and intense swimming sessions in chlorine pools, I’ve had to cut my locks in two big chops over the years to ensure their health.

Health over looks. That’s become my mantra. So over the past year I made the decision to stop coloring my locks. Now, I can literally track the growth by the black roots.

In many ways, my hair journey has modeled my life. From the outside looking in, sometimes I’ve felt stunted. I’ve mocked its snail’s pace and felt my accomplishments should mirror my expectations and the growth of others. But my most frustrating moments, I am forced to turn my eyes inward, forced to examine the roots. And I remember that’s where the future lies: the new growth.

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