Monday, July 13, 2009

Natural Women: Our Hair, Our Stories (Lori)

My Story

I'm a 40 some year old Black woman and like most in that particular demographic, I spent a large portion of my childhood wearing my hair like you see in the picture above--pressed and pig-tailed and on special occasions, pressed and curled.

Age 13 (or thereabouts) marked my first experience with a chemical relaxer. Hate to point a finger, but it was my mother's idea (smile). She had the best of intentions and put me in the hands of a capable beautician. Even so, I remember both the burn of the relaxer and my hair breaking off in the weeks thereafter.

Me, my cousins and our M'Deah.
I'm the tall one with the lipstick and earrings (smile).

High School is when I first started wearing my hair in a natural or what some call an "afro." I'm not sure why, but I've never liked the term "afro." My preference for describing my hair when it is unrelaxed, unchemically altered or unstraightened is "natural."
I like wearing my hair natural--always have and I've never viewed it as any sort of fashion or overt political statement. To be honest, it's just who I am and how I've long viewed myself--as a natural woman.

Yes, since becoming an adult, I have worn my hair straightened and relaxed. Versatility and change make life all the more interesting is my personal philosophy. In the picture above, I'm rocking a curl . . Uh-huh, as in Jheri, thank you every much. Mine, I'd like to think, was kinda cute. In any case, it was a phase and those were the days.

In the picture below, I'm sporting a short, relaxed look, not unlike the style I wore until my family's relocation from Memphis to the Cleveland area in 2001.

After a series of less then positive experiences with hairstylists, hard water and rough winter weather in the Cleveland area, I decided the time had come for me to revert to what I know and manage best--my natural roots.

Me and my twists.
Even after moving back down South to Charlotte, North Carolina, where I currently reside, I stayed natural. Typically, I'm a twists (see above), twist-outs or a full out 'fro kind of girl.
On occasion, I will flat-iron or press
my hair (see pic on right) but I haven't
chemically altered my hair in years and I don't foresee doing so any time soon.
(Believe it or not, my hair in the
picture on the right is shorter than
the picture above. I got it flat-ironed
in order to get my ends cut.)
Why fear it or fight it? It's natural . . .
Just a bit untwisted . . .

Look for me to share a little bit more about my natural hair journey in the coming days, but in the meantime, I'll be sharing the stories of some friends and aquaintances--all of whom, like me, consider themselves "natural women."


Sharon J said...

Your hair is so healthy and full. It looks beautiful!

Lori said...

Thanks Sharon. Come back in a couple of days and check out another sister's "natural hair" story. I'm looking forward to reading yours, as well, (-:

Adrienna Turner said...

Yes. I wear twists. Braids with my hair not weave. I also wear flat-irons styles and curly mess.

What are some suggestions with hair products? I know all our hair texture can be different, however, there has to be something we all agree on. For instance, when you flat-iron, you use different hair styling products than when you wear twists, or curly hair.

Thanks. Drina.