Shalom, my journey with my natural hair began as a personal and spiritual journey.
My Natural Hair Journey
Know Thyself, you come from a long line of strength, honor, beauty and intellect.
I have been natural and relaxer-free for more than a year now; my journey began not necessarily because of the current trend of women embracing their natural hair although it played a part, but because of the introspective thoughts I was having at this particular place in my life. By talking to female family and friends I have noticed in a woman's life there will be times when she will reflect on her stages of accomplishment and growth, then measure it with the present course of her life. For instance, some of us have goals to be married at a certain time, some have a goal of excelling in their career by a certain point, and others plan when to have kids and how many...etc. For some, reflection will occur in every decade, the late twenties, thirties, forties and so forth. Well, I was at the stage of reflecting on my life and where do I go from here?
I have always loved my people and in my life and through my poetry I often conveyed a consciousness to share my talents, wisdom and experiences to make a difference. So, I thought how do I live out the rest of my life from a standpoint of spiritual growth as it pertains to my people and how do I give back now when we are at such a desperate need of guidance? How do I allow Yah to lead me to these revelations? By now, I have seven grandchildren, my three sons are grown, married with children of their own and I began to think in terms of a spiritual legacy. I have always devoted my life to doing what is right in Yah’s eyes, but the Christian church did not offer me the righteous home I was seeking. After the death of my Father in 2014, these thoughts came to a head and I decided it was time to commit to some spiritual changes in my life. I decided to dig deep and take responsibility for some lingering baggage that I still needed to work on within myself concerning my Father and other matters I thought were resolved, but resurfaced during this time of grief. At the same time I was watching, like everyone, the continuous murder of our black men and I began to question the plight of black people and why such terrible things seem to happen to just us throughout history? What is it about us that incite such hate from other nations? Who am I on a spiritual level? Also due to some new information I was learning, I discovered omissions, misconceptions and lies that were contrary to what I had been taught about my people throughout history. In seeking further confirmation I went on a quest to know more about African American history as it pertain to our true heritage and history.
As I research the hidden history of our people there was a transformation of my soul taking place. I had to dig deep within myself to understand how subconsciously I had gotten away from being true to my culture, the changes were so subtle I hadn't even realize how my thoughts, my ideology, my perception had been altered to believe that the standard of who I was literally had been influenced by European indoctrination. I grew up in the seventies; it was a time when we wore our afros proudly, when we weren't embarrassed to be seen with kinky, curly or nappy hair, when the music I enjoyed was soulful and the dances were distinctive to our people and the expression of the culture was evident. It was a time when there was a true love for each other and pride in our communities, celebration of art, style and our heritage as we knew it.
Somehow between then and now we have lost all connections to what made us unique as a people. So as I read of the accomplishments of our people in history outside of the negative imagery mainstream media, movies, books and TV has defined for us and what and who we are/were as a people I became empowered with that knowledge. I was learning the truths that have been hidden from us. Our history goes far beyond what we have learned in the month of February (Black History Month) or the typical people discussed in public school history class. As I sought more knowledge and awareness of our true heritage, a sense of pride began to arise in me. I found out that there were Kings, mighty prophets’, warriors, and influential, courageous women used by Yah in our ancient history.
We were mathematicians, scientists, philosophers, builders of empires and civilizations, etc. I learned that we do have a magnificent history that is set apart from European History....it is our OWN history. As I came into all this knowledge I was also in the process of growing out my relaxed hair, it had been several months and I was at the ugly stage. You know the point where the perm/relaxer is a few inches at the tip of your hair strands leaving the wavy straight ends and three or more inches of natural nappy hair at the roots. We, who have been there or those who are already there know what I'm talking about! :)
I took a look in the mirror and I was embarrassed, still suffering from the lingering remnants of social programming I began to get a little discouraged. I called my sister who had already been natural a year or so. She also went through the same emotions and she said to me.....
“You have to change your thought processes, for over thirty years your hair has been relaxed and you have to get to a point of loving and accepting your natural hair. You haven't seen it in thirty years, it’s new, it seems unnatural. You have to change your thinking from the inside out, when you look in the mirror, don't see what you been told is nappy, unsightly, course and unmanageable hair. You have to relearn how to take care of and be comfortable with your hair, realize it is a necessary part of you."
How strange when you have been brainwashed to believe your natural hair is ugly, embarrassing, and unacceptable. You literally have to retrain your mind of the stereotypical messages indoctrinated into our psyche of what is beautiful and acceptable in our eyes concerning us. Once you conquer this perception you will see the beauty of what is unequivocally a part of us, our naturally course, and nappy hair. It is what distinguishes us from other nationalities. The sad part about it is, not only have we been programmed to feel that way about our natural hair, but we are teaching our daughters to perpetuate that same thinking.
I did go back to a relaxer once, a few months before I spoke with my sister, but after my conversation with her I decided to stick with it, it had become more of a matter of principle then. I changed my thinking, I chose the standard of beauty within myself, I chose to embrace my gorgeous nappy hair and I grew to love it, every strand from the roots to the tips. I experimented with different hair care products teaching myself how to moisturize and keep it conditioned. Ultimately, on my 4c hair, I settled on virgin coconut oil to moisturize, water and aloe misting, Carol's Daughter black vanilla sulfate-free shampoo and Carol's Daughter Monoi repairing hair mask. In a year, I went from 2 and 1/2 inches of hair growth to a total of 8 inches and it is still growing and much more healthier.
It’s been well over a year now since I have been wearing my hair natural and I don't regret one bit of my journey to get where I am today. There is nothing wrong with following a trend or style that accents our cultural beauty with pride, but as black women we have too long allowed society's standard of beauty to dictate what makes us beautiful. We have to embrace what makes us naturally beautiful, our nappy hair, our full lips, curvaceous hips and everything that makes us unique as a black woman. I have chosen a journey of self-discovery that has enhanced me physically, spiritually and most importantly has change my mindset to who I am as a woman and spiritual being.
As I transitioned into my natural hair, another transformation was taking place; it was if a spiritual and mental epiphany happen simultaneously, I was also awakening to my true heritage. In the latter part of 2014, my youngest son informed me that we are the Israelites of the bible. When he showed me Deuteronomy 28: 68, it was a wrap for me and soon after, my husband and my two other sons were awakened to the truth of Yah and Yahushua. In August of 2015, on our thirty fourth wedding anniversary, we were immersed in the Atlantic Ocean of Daytona Beach shores and we also renewed our wedding vows under the covenant of Yah at the same time, a truly beautiful experience…HalleluYah! So, I praise Yah daily, now I am in a state of completeness, the knowledge and pride of my cultural and spiritual heritage overwhelms me with joy and a humbleness I’ve never experienced in the Christian church. I am a new creature in mind, body and spirit and I continue to apply the Torah in my walk, grow and learn in the wisdom and understanding of Yah’s word.
I love my natural hair and I am grateful for this journey that enlightens me to the true knowledge of who I am and the blessing that comes from the understanding of knowing the mercy of Yah, and our bridegroom and intercessor, Yahushua.
and as Joshua 24:15 says
And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Most High, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve Yah
All praise to YaHuWaH,Shalom Yahalomit Israyl. I just wanted to see if it would be okay to include a picture of your natural hair to put into the book to go along with your hair journey.
Blessings Yahalomit Israyl, Thank you so much for your story. Well done. We will include this in the in book. Are you able to be part of the writing team as well? If so, check out the NOTES page for information. Shalom and thanks again. - Sis Reesy