Ever since I was in 3rd grade my mother had been giving me relaxers. I was born with a large amount of hair, and for my mother, relaxing it was the easiest thing for her to do for me and my three other sisters. I never thought about natural hair until Cycle 5 of America’s Next Top Model, when I was introduced to Bre Scullark. Oh my goodness, her glorious curls were so bouncy and voluptuous that I began to think that if I went natural, my hair would look exactly like that.
So, in May of 2008, I gave myself the big chop. Cutting off a total of 16 inches off my head I boldly walked around my college campus with a heightened awareness of my scalp. But, I persevered through the awkward looks, the need to overcompensate by wearing more makeup and jewelry,and admitting to myself that for years I found a security of having… hair my entire life. Honestly, there wasn’t a lot of support for girls who were going natural where I was. All of the salons that I went to for help only wanted to straighten my hair, and it seemed like people were comfortable with a girl with long curly hair, or short straight hair. But having short, curly hair (that didn’t turn out to be the texture that I hoped for) was sometimes looked down upon by people in grocery stores, on the street, or in restaurants.
Having natural hair is hard work, and I thought I would have a texture of “wash and go” like my friend Janea, but I didn’t. I bought multiple products to help me manage, and ended up returning some, throwing away many, and just rolling my eyes at the mention of others. After a year and five months, I had the length that I had in the first picture. I was natural and LOVED it! I would preach the glories of not being ashamed of “whatever texture of your hair that grows out of your head, but embrace it!” I didn’t mind spending the $32 a jar for my Miss Jessie’s Baby Buttercreme, and doing a twist out became a welcomed chore.
However, when I got pregnant I developed a type of lethargic-ness that Sleeping Beauty would have envied. I got my morning sickness from 2 to 5 in the morning, and during the days I worked as a book editor. My husband and I shared a car (and he didn’t have a license), so sometimes I would have to drive him to work and to help his family complete errands. I was always mentally and physically exhausted. The last thing that was on my mind was my hair. I spent most of my second trimester in summer, so I was always hot and my thick hair actually began to anger me. It was just so thick and… everywhere; and no matter where I went, some stranger was always trying to stick their hands in my head (or rub my stomach. Please strangers, if you don’t personally know a woman who’s pregnant, and have natural hair, at LEAST ask for her permission before you start invading her bubble with all the touching). All I wanted to do was to shave my head so I wouldn’t be so hot and uncomfortable.