The Art Of Freedom

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In the beginning of the new year, I had decided that I wanted my hair to be purple. Just out of the blue, I wanted to do something drastic to my hair and purple is one of my favorite colors. I had seen many other [black] women dye their hair purple and other out of the ordinary colors but I wasn't sure if I wanted to do that myself. I'm pretty traditional in my hair colors. When I do put color in my hair, it's usually some sort of honey blonde or auburn. Nothing fancy. But I wanted something different because I was starting to feeling different. I wanted to express myself and besides writing, changing my hair helps me do that. So putting all fear and judgement aside, I released myself. I said "eff it" and went on to put some purple in my hair. But that was a month ago....

The purple was fun. Very rebel like and kinda of out character. I got compliments left and right. My doctor who hasn't seen me in way over a year started the conversation with my hair color, not my health and where the hell have I been. Customers would come in and notice the "pop" of purple and make small talk out of it. When people would ask why I "dyed" a portion of my hair purple, I simply answered: "Because I wanted to." Of course there were a few other reasons: self expression, something new, etc. But the bottom line was that I just wanted to and [finally] not gave any fucks about it. 

However, I got bored. The purple was losing the effect that it had put on me. It was fun, yes, but it was time for something else. Even though the purple was something else, my hair didn't change that much. It was still in the same style I normally had using the same hair that I've been using for the past two years. So yeah, it was something rebellious and it freed me a bit, but not enough. 

I think it hit me when my mother complimented my bravery, for lack of a better word. She commended me for not caring what people think and doing whatever it is I wanted to do with my hair such as putting purple in it. It had inspired her to start caring less what folks think of her and her condition. Though that put a smile on my face, what my mother didn't know is that I was still caring a little bit what people would say and think. Going purple wasn't hard and no, I didn't care too much how people felt about it. But what I really wanted to do to my hair had me a tad uneasy. But I couldn't do purple for another month. My boredom wouldn't allow that. And I got tired of doing my same ol' hair style with my standard color(s). So I took out my weave/crochet braids and just fucking did it. I'm wearing my natural hair.

In this day in age, wearing natural hair shouldn't be a big deal but as a black girl who struggled with hair insecurities her whole life, it was something major. After I took out my crochet braids, I reveled in how much my hair has grown and how healthy it is (shout out to Shea Moisture and biotin). So instead of doing my usual--now boring--weave, I decided just to be me. Naturally. And boy does it feel good. At least now it does. Don't get me wrong, I hesitated with this decision greatly. I don't know how to really style my natural hair because that's what wigs and weaves are for. I had concerns about what folks at my job would say (granted, at this point, they are used to seeing me with something different in my hair so they probably wouldn't even notice it's my real hair). But my biggest concern, more so pending frustration, would be the commentary from customers. It's already annoying when both black and white customers ask me questions about the authenticity of my hair, how I do it, and blah, blah, blah. Now that my natural afro is in full swing, I'm not ready for the questions from curious white folks. I had to bite my tongue more than once with a customer who clearly did not know that their question(s) is beyond inappropriate, offensive, and downright annoying. Why can't folks just leave it at "your hair looks nice"? Is that so hard to do?

So a big part of me not wearing my natural hair was to avoid the questions at work or the general public for that matter. That shit is annoying whether I was insecure or not. Can I live or nah? But a good chunk was and still insecurity. I didn't grow up loving my hair. I didn't even start caring about my natural hair until four years ago when I also said "fuck it" and chopped off all my hair. Still insecure and wondering why I just didn't transition, I rocked a wig until it grew out enough for me do crochet braids. Hell, I still do crochet braids. But now that I'm wearing my natural hair and becoming okay with it, me doing crochet braids won't be so mandatory now. It will be optional like my wigs.

Me rolling rough and tough with my afro puff(s) isn't a statement piece. It's just me owning everything that God created me to be and finally coming to terms with it. I'm not out here trying to be Solange, Erykah Badu, Traci Ellis Ross or Miss Jilly from Philly. They're great inspirations, yes, but that's not why I'm choosing to wear my natural hair. I'm wearing my natural hair because I'm choosing to be liberated. No longer will the thoughts of others and what they think about my hair trouble me. As a matter of fact, what they think or feel about it is none of my business. If they choose to bring their "concerns" to my attention, a simple "it's mine (paid for or not), nothing to see (or talk about) here," will have to suffice. I'm liberating myself from engaging in conversation with curious white people who are "fascinated" with black hair even though they're being overtly offensive. I'm liberating myself from what even my mother and rest of my family thinks. I'm liberating myself from life long hair insecurities that literally held me hostage and ate me alive. I'm liberating myself and allow myself to just be.

I'm liberating every part of me. I'm choosing freedom.



  1. "I decided just to be me. Naturally. And boy does it feel good."

    Being unapologetically you. Loved this.


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