Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Natural Women: Our Hair, Our Stories (Michele George's Story)

(Michele George's Story)

Michelle George
Background / Michele George, who currently resides in Columbus, Ohio, comes to the field of Cosmetology with over two decades of passion and experience in Pharmaceutical and Biotech Research Industry. Her first work, The Knotty Truth: Managing Tightly Coiled Hair At Home DIY Survival Guide, lays the groundwork for her desire to impact the cosmetology industry with the beauty and artistry of highly textured hair. A Certified Natural Hair Consultant, Mrs. George, in her 40s, now parlays her passion by educating women on the delicate art of transitioning from chemical hair to highly textured hair via workshops, online classes and seminars in Ohio and nationally.

Hairstyle / I wear my hair in locs that I started August 2006 with 400 braids that I installed myself. I maintain with a 4pt reverse rotation with a 2.5-inch bobby pin. For the past 3yrs, I’ve washed my hair with African Black Soap and conditioned with aloe vera juice and my favorite essential oils: rosemary and lemongrass oil and feed my hair with olive oil infused with the same EOs and seal the moisture in with castor oil.

Michele George
Reason for wearing a “natural” hairstyle / After 10 years of trying to go natural, I finally transitioned successfully in 2004. I chopped off the chemically processed hair January 1, 2005 and haven’t looked back since. I went natural because I wore a lot of twist outs with my texturized hair. I began to stretch my touch-ups further and further apart as I embraced the naturally curly texture that emerged from my roots. I loved it and wanted to see what it was like to look like me. I began wondering--why do I have to severely alter myself in order to be accepted by corporate America?
While on maternity leave with my second child in 2003, I became a Certified Personal Trainer and began living a healthier lifestyle. I became determined to go natural at this point. Outside of these reasons, hairstylists helped me go natural because of lack of good customer service, stacking customers, leaving me in the chair all day, getting out at midnight, stylists hopping from salon to salon without follow-up, chasing them down to get my chair done and a general lack of respect for my time. I wanted to free of the chair. I attempted to go natural three separate times; the third time was the charm.

Negative reactions / when I did the BC (big chop), I received a lot of negative comments: “Do you like your hair that way?” Co-worker “You look like you have a jheri curl.” Auntie “Why are you wearing your hair like that?” Best friendWhen are you going to loc your hair?” Cousin “I like your hair.” (it was a wig) Customer

Response to negative commentary / I focused on the big picture and the picture albums of those women in fotki land and who shared their journeys. When I did that, I could see how my hair might look in 6-12-18 months down the road. The bottom line was hair grows, everyday it grows. If I hung in there until the fall/winter/spring/summer, my hair would grow too, and I would be able to have a testimony if I hung in there for the duration. I decided to commit to staying natural.
Support for your natural look / The Bible helped me a lot. In Genesis, the Word says God looked upon all His creation and said, "It is good, it is Very good!" That includes my hair. I became determined to see me the way Jesus sees me because the Word also said He doesn't give us more than we can handle. We must be some strong sisters to be given this awesome grade of hair!
A woman with natural hair whose style you admire / I was inspired by T. Crystal Keymah from (then) In Living Color. We favor one another and I was hooked since I first saw her in 1990.

Michele George

Advice for women considering a "natural" hairstyle / It took me until 2005 to finally transition back to me. As a result, I don't proselytize and try to convert people; I just try to be an example, a good example. If they decide to go natural, it will happen at an appointed time that is unique to each and every one of us. I just focus on being the bridge that reaches out to my sister to pass, once she makes the decision that this is what she wants. I don't have the energy to convince people any more. The calling is unique: many are called, few are chosen. It's an awareness that must be claimed by the journeywomen alone. And, when she does, I'm here, waiting, smiling, and welcoming her to a new space of self-love.

Books you'd like to recommend / If you are ready to be informed, enlightened and maybe just a little more educated about highly textured hair, my book, The Knotty Truth is for you. With an emphasis on affordable do-it-yourself hair ingredients at home, The Knotty Truth will introduce you to everyday kitchen products that will nourish not only your belly, but also your hair. Natural hair care need not be expensive. If you are not ready to venture into the world of natural hair, The Knotty Truth may just change your mind with its refreshing perceptive and witty candor. The Knotty Truth is for the strong willed inner child who wants to be free to embrace the nap of her hair or begin the journey to a head of naturally cared for hair full of strength and vitality!

Definition of a "natural woman" / A natural woman is a woman who can see herself as God sees her: as His perfect and beautiful creation. On the day I meet my Maker, I want Him to know that I think He did a pretty good job! So nappy I was born and nappy I'll die."

If you'd like to learn more about

Michele George

please visit her website

"Michele George's Story" is part of an on-going series I created that focuses on African American women who wear their hair au naturel. Check the archives (see sidebar on the right) for past segments, features and profiles. If you'd like to participate in the series, please email me for details (go to my blog's profile page or visit my website for contact information). Your feedback is always appreciated. Please feel free to leave any questions or comments you might have about "Michele George's Story," the "Natural Women: Our Hair, Our Stories" series or Black hair in general, in the section below marked for comments. THANK YOU!


bones said...

Just recently had this kind of conversation with my fried and we are both going natural she lives in Illinois and I live in Minnesota "Nappy Truth" is what I will get for her birthday
PS A copy for each of us

Lori said...

Hey bones, thanks for stopping by. Sorry it took me so long to post your comment, but I'm sure Michele will be happy to hear of your interest in her work. :-)