I have been rewilding my hair for more than six months now. Rewilding…going natural…getting back to my roots…through a series of braided styles that remind me of my childhood. At first it was a calling to change my routine and express who I am now more fully. It was also an act of frustration how for so many years…so many decades…I have been perming my hair with chemicals and all it takes is one mistake from the hairdresser or one extra week between touchups and my forcefully straightened hair would break and I would have to start all over.
Because it was time to change myself, to become the woman that I am inside.
Six months ago I was done starting all over. I had proven that my hair could grow through this treatment program. I had learned and matured with the caring for my hair…with the caring of myself. I had only recently realized this. I also realized – about six months ago – that I am not familiar with the styles and techniques that go along with my hair in its natural state because I have spent my whole life with images and desires to be like my friends, their hair straight with no effort. It is only in these last months that I realized that the images of women who look like me include more natural looking hair. That is great, but it means nothing if I don’t accept myself. Right now I am feeling stifled…strongly unsatisfied by what it looks and feels like when my natural hair comes up through the braided style, announcing to the world that it is time for a redo.
I am not my hair. I am not this skin. I am not your expectations…I am the soul that lives within…
As I am exploring what it means to rewild this tamed part of myself I have come face-to-face with fear this week…the fear that I would unravel my braids, prep my hair to be rebraided, and the hairdresser would then look at me on her doorstep and tell me that ‘something suddenly came up’ and she would not be able to put humpty dumpty back together again. That happened to me when I was younger and the person who was braiding my hair worked out of her home. I was in my 20s and I was mortified. What if people see me like this!?! I’m now on the doorstep of 40 and I realize how sad it is that I was afraid someone would see the real me…the natural me…
It’s time to redefine who we be…It’s not what’s on your hair, it’s what’s underneath.
It is this week that, for the first time in my life, I felt like my natural hair was beautiful and if someone should happen to see me rocking it, it would not be the end of my world or the end of me. What happens when you learn to love the natural parts of yourself? It takes time to contemplate what the answers are for yourself and to find your way…to find YOUR way, not the way that you’ve been told or taught to go, but the way you feel is right.
I have an Ebony Sister who told me she stopped calling her hairstyle ‘dreadlocks’ when someone told her there was nothing dreadful about her locks. Now I can’t help but wonder – what happens when you love yourself enough to be natural? Are you ready to commit to the process of rewilding?