Friday, March 29, 2013

What Does Being "Natural" Mean?

The Million Dollar Question

2 Months
I keep seeing this questions posed on different forums so I've decided to talk about it.

When "going natural" first started taking off, I thought to myself "What in the world is going on?!" Most women I saw going through the process raised my eyebrows a few times, and to be honest some still do. Now that I've gone through my process of transitioning to natural hair then doing a big chop, I have a better understanding of what goes into it! Before my mind changed, I would talk to my hair stylist (at the time) about going natural and tell her how I could never go natural and she was on my side 100%. She would talk about how going natural wasn't for everybody and how she would never let me go natural.

Of my close friends, two of us had made the decision to go natural and two of us held on to being relaxed for dear life. Nicole and I decided that going natural was not for us. We both watched as our friends big chopped and began their roads to natural glory-dom. Then, Nicole popped up pregnant. After so many months of pregnancy you're advised to stop getting relaxers for the duration of your pregnancy. Since she stopped getting relaxers she figured she might as well play the natural thing out. I still had a million and a half reasons why I couldn't and wouldn't do it.

4 Months
After watching my friends grow their hair out, I was amazed with the outcome but not the process. They all had different textures and the ability to pull off great hairstyles. I was starting to get curious about what my hair would like in it's natural state. Also during this time, I started seeing my boyfriend. I would constantly talk to him about my hair and the trouble it had been giving me. He encouraged me to go natural from the jump, for the health of my hair.

I began to research it and talk to my natural friends about it until one day I decided to just stop getting relaxers. I decided to transition into being natural. No scissors were allowed in the process...initially!! I wasn't planning on cutting anything, I just wanted to grow it out. I let my hair stylist know that's what I wanted and contrary to what she said earlier, she was willing to help me transition.

That 's a little bit of my story, but what exactly was a shooting for? What does being natural mean?? Interestingly enough, here's how Wikipedia defines natural hair. During my research, I got the understanding that being natural was about having no chemicals involved at all. There's some debate about women who color their hair not being natural because color is a chemical (which ultimately alters the state of your hair). Some women even go as far as to say that being natural is more of a holistic thing involving the health of not only your hair but your body.

everyone has different definitions of what being natural isWhen I began transitioning, my coworkers were curious about the process and it was funny having to explain what I meant when using all these "natural" words (such as going natural, transitioning, protective styles, etc.). There are many descriptive words to describe them when it comes to my hair...amazed, jealous, curious, supportive, etc...but the bottom line is even they have a totally different perspective on what being "natural" is.

When I say "I'm natural", I'm referring to my hair. I mean that my hair is growing out of my head with no alteration. Although, I miss my color very much, I want to be completely natural until my hair gets a decent length. I don't want to chance having the color affect my hair's growth.

Being natural is about whatever you want it to be about. People will go to war with each other about their opinions on being natural. That's not what this is about! Everyone has their own personal journey and their own personal reasons for being on those journeys. Your opinion is your own and you shouldn't be jumped on or be jumping on anyone else because their thoughts are different.

With all that being said, what does being natural mean to you?

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