I have been a 'natural' gal for over 3 years; natural meaning my hair has not been chemically straightened. The journey from getting relaxers to no chemical straightening was much easier than I thought it would be. However, the maintenance of that existence is just as difficult as I imagined it would be. It all started when, I decided, I needed a change after wearing different variations of the mohawk hairstyle. There's only so much you can do with a mohawk, so, I decided to chop it all off. I didn't do it with the intention of 'going natural;' I just liked the way I looked when I held my hair down and could see nothing but face in the mirror. I literally said, aloud, 'Damn, I'm pretty!' The barber who cut it off and shaped me up agreed.
I wore the brush-cut style for months, then I decided to let my hair grow back. I figured, once it reached a certain length, I could get a relaxer and a different hairstyle. But, when it grew and I saw the true texture of my hair (that I hadn't seen since I was about 12, 13 years old), I liked it. In fact, I loved it. I remembered having a 'nice' texture of hair but didn't quite recall what that looked like. I'm a 'nappy girl,' for sure, but there's a wide range of 'nappiness' and I happen to fall into the 'not-so-bad' range. Now, I'm not one of those people who uses the term 'good hair' (which is usually used to describe someone's hair that is straight, wavy or curly, with not a nap in sight) nor do I believe, 'there is no such thing as good hair.' People can try to make themselves or others feel better by saying that, but (I'm sorry), it's just not true. On one extreme, there are some curl patterns that are extremely tight & dense (that I wouldn't even describe as 'curl' patterns) which makes the hair hard to manage and difficult (or impossible) to mold or manipulate into any styles other than braids or an afro. On the other extreme, there is straight hair, with not a hint of wave or curl that makes it difficult to wear most hairstyles in its natural state. That's what I would call 'bad hair.' However, there are many hair types in between that allow for alot of maniupulation, variety and beautiful styling. That is what I would describe as 'good hair.'
I'm not really sure where my hair fits on the a-b-c (hair types) scale but I like to describe it as 'cotton curl.' It looks good and is quite manageable in its natural state. When it's wet, the curl pattern is tight & springy; when it's dry, the curl pattern is tight and soft. I like to wear it in various forms of the afro and I also like to do different kinds of 'twist-outs' (where you braid or twist the hair then keep it in that style for a few hours or overnight, then unravel hair to create a curly, coily or wavy hairstyle). However, maintaining the health of my hair and creating hairstyles takes A LOT of time, energy and product (money). I look forward to getting much (if not all) of my original length back but the more my hair grows, the more frustrated I get with the upkeep. Which is why, thoughts of the 'creamy crack' cross my mind, often.
'Creamy crack' is the name somebody (probably a naturalista) gave to relaxer products that are used to straighten the hair. Although there is a great number of women who have 'gone to rehab' and gotten their naps back, there are still many women who are still addicted to what the relaxer does for their hair. I was once addicted and though I no longer need that fix, at times I sure do want it. Sometimes, I want it, to be able to wear my own hair in certain styles and feel the air on my scalp as my tresses bounce and blow in the wind. Sometimes, I want it, so I can wear certain weave styles and get my various states of 'diva' on. And sometimes, I want a relaxer, because my hair would be much more manageable and require less daily maintenance. Whatever the reason is, it ain't got a damn thing to do with denying my blackness or 'wanting to be white' or being 'brainwashed by europeans' or any other shitty notion some people come up with to try to make a sista feel guilty, bad or 'less-than'. I don't care how I wear my hair, I know I'm a black woman, I love being a black woman and I am going to express my black woman-ness in straight hair, curly hair, nappy hair, weaved, braided, long, short or round-the-way hair. Whatever style I choose, these facts will remain constant.....I'M BLACK and I'M PROUD! BLACK GIRLS ROCK! MY BLACK IS BEAUTIFUL! ....got it? Ok.