By Latasha McGill
I have contemplated wearing my natural hair for years; researched styles, stylist who specialize in natural hair, products, I’ve watched countless YouTube videos on the transition process and yet, I still haven’t transitioned to wearing my natural hair. I see so many beautiful sisters who rock natural tresses with their confidence on 100 daily and I think to myself, “I can do that. I can wear my natural hair and still maintain my confidence.” Soon after I make my confession of commitment, doubt and fear creep in and shatter it all.
The truth is, I have been crippled with fear for years at the thought of wearing my natural hair. I have been afraid of what I will look like without the straightness that a relaxer gives me. I’ve gone as far as making an appointment once with a natural hair stylist only to chicken out hours before the appointment. Part of my fear stems from childhood wounds of being teased for having course hair. The teasing became worse in middle school and high school because my parents could not afford to send me to the beauty salon regularly. Therefore, I was left to manage my thick, course hair all on my own and most times, it was a disaster in a ponytail.
I pride myself on appearance. It is the first thing people notice about you and it’s the deciding factor that determines if others will engage you and take you seriously. I work in Corporate America. I enjoy wearing my nice blouses, lipstick, high heels and having my hair nicely done to complement my attire. I have a weekly appointment at the salon, and I appreciate the work of art my stylist does on my hair. My hair has become a huge statement of my personality. While, my hair doesn’t validate me, I do like having it done regularly and it does enhance my confidence. I have often thought, how would I be perceived in Corporate America with natural hair? Will it stifle my career? Will it make my peers shy away from me? I’ve worked so hard to get to where I am, and I don’t want to fight an H.R. battle because of my hair.
I’ve read stories of black women being reprimanded and held back because of their hair. Discrimination of anyone for any reason is wrong and unjust; however, sometimes, it can be mentally and emotionally taxing trying to prove and rid your environment of it. Those thoughts may sound extreme; but they are reality for some black women.
Today, my paradigm has shifted and evolved regarding wearing my natural hair. I’ve decided no matter what I’m going to do this. I’m ready to make the change. I had to wait until I was ready for myself and not do it because of cultural and/or social media pressure. (There is definitely pressure from the culture for sisters to be natural.) I’m ready because my life is about being #WholePersonHeathy. It’s my personal mantra for being my healthiest self in all areas of my life. Manipulating my hair with chemicals to straighten it, is contradictory of my lifestyle as a plant-based eater. I no longer desire to live a double life in that regard. Which is what I feel I’ve been doing the further I progress on my journey of total wellness. Being in quarantine and not being able to get to the salon has been challenging and humbling. My hair is starting to transition on its own. (It looks a mess, too. Lol) But that’s okay, as soon as it’s safe, I am going to visit a stylist and begin my journey of wearing my natural hair with a big chop. I would be remiss in not acknowledging that my guy has been very supportive of me transitioning to natural hair. Which is a big deal for some women as well. Some men either like natural hair or they don’t. It is nice to have a partner who supports me as I take this step. He has not pressured me, but rather he has given me the space to make my own decision in my time. When I told him, I was ready to do it, he was extremely happy because he loves natural hair. He tells me all the time that I am going to feel free when I do it. I believe that because my journey of being #WholePersonHealthy has given me an unapologetic freedom I’ve never known before. The journey has given me the strength and courage to be the Black Woman I was always meant to be. I am excited to embrace my natural hair because my true hair is my crown and glory and I know I am going to be beautiful and confident in my natural state.
Latasha “Tasha Mac” McGill is a contributing writer for the Pedestal Project, LLC. Tasha Mac is a grammar geek who is obsessed with coffee, high heels, lipstick, 90s R&B and Comic book movies. She is also a vegetarian whose idea of “turning up” is being in bed by 9pm, working out, watching HGTV and reading a book.
Connect with her on Facebook @Latasha McGill, on Instagram @TashaMac523, on Twitter @LadyT523