This post was inspired by this post and this post.
I know I pull disappearing acts all the time, but I'm usually lurking around somewhere. Here's my excuse this time: I moved again (and you know when I move, I don't move houses, I move continents). And I'm starting a new job. I really am sorry for being less than dedicated.
I knew I had to make time to write this post because this issue is really getting on my nerves. I know it's probably been done to death but... I'm gonna do it anyway.
Speaking as a Nigerian woman with natural hair that lived in Nigeria for a significant period of time, I have to let you know that I'm pissed off. I feel like natural women have to tiptoe around the subject of their hair in order not to be perceived as trying to ram it down the throats of non-natural woman, and in order to avoid being called natural Nazis. Why?
Why on earth should I keep quiet about why I think MY hair is better than a relaxed woman's hair when the relaxed women that surround me feel the need to constantly tell me that my hair is ugly and repulsive? Why shouldn't I proudly declare that MY hair is beautiful when the relaxed women around me constantly try (sometimes forcefully) to make me change my hair? Why is it that we have to keep quiet and never offer advice when they are constantly telling me that I must do this, and this and that to my hair in order to make THEM happy and fit in with THEIR standard of beauty?
I have NEVER EVER gone up to a woman with relaxed hair, stranger or otherwise and offered unsolicited advice on what I feel they should do with THEIR hair so why on earth do they feel comfortable enough to come up to me and spew their negativity and tell me why my hair is bad? Why am I a natural Nazi if I do the so, but they're only being helpful? I've seen women with balding heads, no edges, sick (and I don't mean sick in the good way) hair come up to me with my full, thick hair and tell me that MY hair ain't right. I laugh kpehe kpehe.
I will say this now for everybody to read. I DON'T CARE WHAT YOU DO TO YOUR OWN HAIR, BUT IF YOU COME UP TO ME AND MAKE ANOTHER NEGATIVE COMMENT ON MY HAIR, I WILL NOT BE POLITE. I WILL NOT SPARE YOU. I WILL DO TO YOU EXACTLY WHAT YOU DO TO ME. I WILL SHOW YOU HOW UGLY I THINK YOUR HAIR IS TOO. All's fair in love and hair right?
I didn't go natural because of a heightened sense of blackness. I went natural after doing a significant amount of research into black hair and finding out exactly what relaxers do to my hair. I went natural because, even with relaxed hair, I couldn't just wash and go. Because I had to run from water. Because my hair never grew past my shoulders. Because it was boring and never felt right. Looking at my life now, I realise that natural was always on the cards for me. If I hadn't gone natural when I did, I would have gone natural this summer. But that's another story.
As for Team Natural and Pro Relaxed, I don't buy into any of that. There is no war so I don't know why relaxed girls are always on the defensive and offensive. Your issues, not mine. Although I do think that my natural hair is better than your relaxed hair. Why? Because it is MY hair on MY head and I think it's more beautiful than yours. I don't think I am better than you or more "conscious" because I'm natural. Nope. I'm not comparing myself to you in any way. I just think my hair is nicer than yours. You might think yours is nicer than mine too, but that's fine. We all need to love what we have, whether it's weave, relaxed or natural. I love what I have.
But you know how it is when you walk in proudly with your natural hair and the relaxed women around you start reeling off reasons (unprovoked) why they can't or won't go natural. It happens a lot. Why so defensive?
Living and working in Nigeria, I was subjected to negative comments on my hair on a daily basis and yet relaxed women have the gall to say we attack them?
When was the last time a natural woman stopped a relaxed woman walking on the street, minding her own business to ask her when she's going to big chop?
When was the last time a group of natural haired women yelled insults at a relaxed or weaved up woman walking down the street (hey baby, how many Indian girls had to sacrifice their hair for you? Hey baby, what's up with that limp stringy mess on your head? Hey baby, come let me pay for your big chop, you'll look so fine when it's done)?
When was the last time your natural haired boss called you into her office to tell you that you needed to go to the salon and chop off your hair immediately or you'll be fired?
When it comes to this hair thing, I'm not playing nice anymore. If you can't or won't mind your business when it comes to what I do with MY hair, why should I respect your right to self expression? I could be the devil on your shoulder whispering "go natural, go natural, go natural" if you want.
Just try me.