I'm Not Natural But Please Stop Side-Eyeing Me

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by Christin Webb

Before I begin, I want to make it clear that I have nothing against women that choose to wear their hair natural. In my past life, years before the mass transition of black women going from processed hair back to natural hair, I wore my hair natural for a span of five to six years. I loved my natural hair. Its lush curls I’d learned to train and nurture became my signature and pride. At some point, however, I decided it was a bit more work than what I wanted to put up with and darted back to the world of processed tresses and permed my hair.

Fast forward about eight years and now natural hair is ‘THE’ thing to do. I very much appreciate the fact that so many black women now embrace their God designed tresses. The afros, locks, coils, and curls grace their heads like crowns of glory and define who they are and not what they are. To the contrary as a processed wearer, I now find myself having to defend why I haven’t gone back to my natural state.

I’m the only person in my family that doesn’t have a perm. When I say the only, I mean only; aunts, grandmother, cousins, sisters, mother – all the females in my family have natural hair. At every family event there is a moment set aside to try to convert me and for them to gain understanding of my ‘rebellion’ of natural hair. I don’t consider it rebellion, I consider it a choice. And for now my choice is to wear a perm.

Even in public relationships, I’ve had some women with natural hair side-eye me as if I should be condemned for my permed hair. Even in casual conversations; I often receive snide remarks for my non-natural choice. It’s not the end of the world that I haven’t re-joined the natural hair ride!

To all my natural hair sisters consider the fact that for those of us who continue to wear our perms and haven’t quite crossed over, or in my case, crossed back over, our appreciation of self is no less and yours no greater. Each of us is beautiful in our own right, our own uniqueness and style. There could just be a choice that has been made and may be one day just one day (while I doubt that is possible) we’ll all be on the same page.

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