For the past few months, getting close to a year now, I've been in the process of growing out the relaxer in my hair.
Some people don't understand why I would ever do that (like my grandmother). She comes from the school of Do Whatever Necessary to Get Rid of Unacceptable Nappy Hair. And my mom kind of raised me slightly in that school of thought. Since I was little I've been having chemicals put in my hair, and that was just what it was, I thought that was just the way of life. I never really thought about it until my friend started growing out her natural hair. Then I began to notice the difference in healthiness between relaxed and natural hair. And in that time I'd also seen some pretty serious mishaps involving over-processed hair on women who have been doing that for years. You can still make your hair "straight" even if you don't have chemicals in your hair. I like my hair straight sometimes with my short haircuts and all but I really like my natural hair too, because it's me. So it's even BETTER to have that versatility when I want it!
Relaxing your hair is kind of like having an eating disorder or having obsessive or addictive behavior. You're unhappy with the natural state, so you do something about it that is damaging to it in the long run. And for most of us who grow our hair out it's hard to commit. Or you keep saying "After this next one I'm quitting". Why are we unhappy with the natural state? A huge part of it may be because we're trying to live up to society's standards of beauty. Sometimes among us, having that "good hurr" is an automatic equivalent to being beautiful. Another reason is manageability. It may be more time consuming to work with natural hair when you wash it and you want to straighten it, I won't lie I prefer to get that done professionally because I be struggling, but if I have to do it myself I will and I think it's worth it . but i think NATURE IS MAKING A COMEBACK! Slowly but surely, it seems like society is broadening it's horizons regarding beauty. Of course it's still skewed, progress is being made.
I must say, as small of a change as it is, it's been a huge part of my change in the feelings I harbor toward myself. It feels good to be freed from the possibly damaging (and kind of obsessive in a sense) behavior of relaxing my hair. Although it's kind of a superficial thing, we must remember that in most cases body image largely affects our image of self as a whole. I feel this is helping me accept and love how God made me. Don't get me wrong I still have gripes with the intangibles, but don't we all? I just don't need more unnecessary physical gripes to pile on top. :-)
Now please take note that while I'm now an advocate for naturalness, I don't hate on the relaxed hair. I understand! I just don't wanna see ya with damaged hair down the road!