All naturals, even the most experienced, can look back on their first year and momentarily feel excitement, freedom, fear, hopelessness, joy and at times discouragement. Well, being that it is my year anniversary since I've had a relaxer and began my transition to O'Natural-hood, I thought I would make this article about your first year as a natural the focus. Being that the first year is a great milestone, I just want to say well done beautiful naturals for hanging in there. I realize, as many do, that going natural is a difficult decision and the scares and lack of social acceptance that many have met could have been enough to throw in the towel, slam the door, return to the 'creamy crack'. But, before you give up, here is a list of support to help you on your way to your year anniversary as an O'Natural.
- Educate Yourself: I cannot stress how important it is to research, research, research. Increasing your knowledge about your hair will prove extremely beneficial to the success of healthy beautiful natural hair. Some wonderful websites are: Nappturality, CurlyNikki, Natural Chica..just to name a few. And don't forget about the huge library of Youtube videos. Education is KEY!
- Experiment: Have fun with your O'Natural. Again, the huge library of Youtube videos were absolute lifesavers for me in expressing new styles to rock my hair. The sad fact is that many of us never learned how to 'Properly' take care of our natural coils, kinks and curls. Learn what product works best for YOU. Sure there are hundreds of products that promise to do this or do that, but before you get too wrapped up and have to attend PJ Annonymous(Product Junkyism), stick to what your hair likes and know that what may work for one natural may not work for you..and that's ok. Experiement with styles that fit you best..if you don't have the head for a fro hawk..that's ok, rock a twist out..Trust me, you will soon master your routine and what hairstyles work for you.
- Find A Support System: Going natural is not always a decision supported by our close ones. I can't tell you how many stories I have heard from many naturals whose families, spouses or friends didn't support their journey into natural hood. Comments like, 'nappy-headed' 'bald headed' kinka bugs' 'you'll never get a job looking like that' 'men don't like nappy hair' etc. etc..almost caused many of them hold up the white flag. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to find individuals who share your same story and can offer support and comfort you when needed. And it's always exciting to begin a new venture when surrounded by like minds. Remember, there are online communities that offer tons of support when you need it. I must say I have met some awesome people who are also on this journey to Natural-ville.
- Document: It is sooo much fun to document your progress and later look back on it. Many naturals document on facebook, other natural blog sites and/or on youtube. Documenting your journey will help you realize that your hair is growing even when you think that it is not. It also helps you see where the health of your hair was and where it is currently.
- Be Optimistic: Keep negativity to a minimum. Sometimes, it may be necessary to tell someone that their comment was not polite and you don't appreciate their destructive remarks. If they continue with their disrespect, then you may need to rethink that friendship and keep your distance. Hopefully they will see that the error of their ways created some distance and opt for more positive comments.
- Keep Your Eyes On the Prize: Remember, there was a reason that you wanted to go natural. When you experience those 'bad days' try to remember that. Everyone's reason is different that made them want to go natural and leave process city..keep your eyes focused on what yours was.
- It's Okay to have a bad hair day: These happen..point blank!! And they don't just happen because you are O'Natural. It happens because it just happens, just as sometimes your outfit isn't quite up to par, or your makeup looks like Tammy Fay Baker...it just happens! Sometimes hair, whether natural or relaxed, just will not cooperate...no matter how much you sweet talk it. It's like a relationship, just give it a little space, don't take it personal, make up and begin again the next day. Don't continue to 'nag' it...and you'll get along jesss fine.
Well, my lovely ladies and gents,I hope this help keep you moving towards your goal of O'Naturalism..
Happy Healthy Hair
credits: some info found at www.naturallycurly.com