Our appearance speaks for us even when we can’t. I have talked a great deal about clothing choices on the blog, but our natural appearance is just as important as what we decide to put on our bodies when creating an image for ourselves. Though we can’t choose what bodies we are born with, what we decide to do with our bodies becomes our personal statement to the world around us.
My brother and my long-time friend (sister) challenged me to a year of hair growth. I fully know that they challenged me mostly because they didn't think I would actually go through with it. But, I did it and as I grew it out, I have to say that I enjoyed the process. This is was first time that I had let my hair grow long (outside of locs some years ago) and I was not sure what to expect, except that I knew my hair was curly. There were a few stages in the midst of the growth that I was no sure about, but as it lengthened and my true curl pattern emerged, I began to like it.
That being said, I wanted to share a few things I learned in the process:
- Your hair truly is an extension of you. As I began to observe, get to know, and reason with my hair, it was almost as if I was seeing my truest self. I began to truly enjoy my curl pattern and being in control of how I presented myself. I had always been the “clean cut” type, but this switch up had people surprised. I like that. It was indicative of where I was/am in life. Expect the unexpected.
- “Natural” is not for the faint of heart. I have been told that my hair and curl pattern is quite manageable, but detangling and daily styling is work indeed. More work than I anticipated – and I didn't even have to contend with twist outs, bantus, rods, flat irons, blow dryers, and the such! I have a newfound respect for the naturals out there!
- Everything you see on BuzzFeed, is true! With the growth, came a greater awareness of perception and opinions. When my hair was/is short, this never crossed my mind. When I entered into professional settings, I was always aware of my appearance and how I was perceived with longer hair. And yes, I had to deal the occasional unsolicited touch, the questions of “why” and “how long” as well as the occasional furled lip. Though those instances were not fun, it offered me an opportunity to practice showcasing my true self to the world.
If you’re seeking to grow out your hair,
- Begin researching regimens for your hair type. This is GOING to change as your hair grows, but you cannot walk around with dry, brittle, and unmanaged hair in the name of natural. Be intentional in your appearance and your statements.
- Be ready for change! If you have never grown your hair out, be ready for your world to be rocked! I thought my hair would be one way, but it did developed and responded to products and stimuli differently throughout the year. I like to think that I handled it in stride, but these changes were certainly unexpected.
- Don’t do it alone! I know my hair stylist and natural friends were sick of my asking questions – but I needed to know some things! Best types of brushes, their experience with products, tutorial videos to watch, techniques they use, and more. It helps A LOT.
Most importantly, do not be afraid to embrace and live your truth. You never know who is watching and whom you’re helping to free. Though I am still unsure about the future of these locs, it has been fun watching my look evolve and change.
If you're growing your hair, thinking about it, or just want to share your opinion about whether or not I should cut it, leave a comment below.