My Natural Hair Journey

Once Upon A Time…

“On the 15th November 2012 I decided to do the big chop! When I did this I was partially informed of the natural community but not enough to know what I was doing, I actually honestly didn’t know what the term ‘BIG Chop’ even meant. I was just 100% certain that it was time to get rid of the relaxed hair. Prior to this and there after I soon fell in love with many Natural Hair Bloggers & Vloggers with varied hair types, textures, lengths, stages, regimens, popularity etc. and these ladies inspired and encouraged me to become intrigued with and discover my UNCONDITIONED ROOTS. So as my thirst for knowledge grew I began to run impatient of my “Transitioning” Roots, I’d transitioned for a few months before deciding to get scissor happy and face the newly natural me.

My hair wasn’t breaking or damaged…I simply cut it because I was curious to see what my natural hair texture was really like! During my Transitioning stages I noticed the vast difference in texture, curl pattern and HEALTH of my hair. My UNCONDITIONED ROOTS were THICKER, DARKER, KINKY & COILY, instantaneously I fell in LOVE and couldn’t wait to witness more; a crown of glory to be exact, one that I couldn’t wait to flaunt with pride!

I wanted to do the ‘Big Chop’ a few years back but was discouraged by family and peers and I honestly didn’t know what I’d do with my hair if I was to take the venture and chop it all off let alone go natural. I was sceptical towards how others would receive and accept my new look; almost all my life I’ve had lengthy chemically altered hair so it was a HUGE step for me.

However in the winters of 2012 I got fed up of my curiosity, and relaxed ends and thus made what would be that life changing decision to embark on that battle between physical beauty and personal esteem in a way that defies societal norms…so I went for it… I CUT IT ALL!

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November 15th 2012, the evening I cut off my hair, I felt FREE initially. I laughed a little, and then engaged in more laughter to then embody a mixture of emotions; empowerment, shock, doubt, happiness, cultural strength and a sense of belonging. I stood in the bathroom of my University campus room and stared at a reflection unknown to myself and I expressed a huge sigh of relief and SMILED. Although I felt proud and was ready to flaunt my newly found UNCONDITIONED ROOTS I received a mixture of reactions from family and friends, however I was mentally prepared.

My entire family was shocked at first, but soon came to accept and like the newly natural me. As always, there was the few family members who were confused as to why I would choose to be natural, they didn’t understand why I’d exchange the “luxury” of straight ‘easy to manage’ hair for a head full of (in my opinion) BEAUTIFUL, UNIQUE kinks and curls.

I also received a mixture of reactions from my peers, some were supportive and welcoming of the new me however others were shocked beyond acceptance and expressed serious dislike towards the newly natural me. To the extent of portraying and imposing societal prejudices and pressures making statements such as “You won’t get a job with your hair like that” – _ – BUT I know my hair is not a depiction of my competencies and or qualities it is simply an extension of my beauty, India Arie said it BEST “I AM NOT MY HAIR!”

Despite some of the negativity, I didn’t let the comments and young ignorance phase me; it motivated me to want to educate myself the more, make sure my hair was in excellent shape at all times and influence and distribute knowledge to women. There is an abundance of negative misconception and perpetuated myths that some carry about natural “black” hair that being… “Black hair doesn’t/can’t grow long”… “It’s nappy, it’s rough, tough, it’s unkempt, too big, unprofessional, hard to manage, ugly…” the list is endless.

My greatest support was my partner, he actually prefers and loves my natural hair, and truth be told he is the initial reason I actually found the confidence to go natural *shy face*. He made me open my mind to the inaccurate expectations of ‘beauty’ that societal norms impose on us, causing us psychological distress as to how our hair ‘should be’. I became aware that accepting myself for ME, in my natural element, is one of the first steps in a victorious consciousness. My self-awareness of this fact coupled with the education, encouragement and inspiration I received from other forums is what greatly helped me overcome the negativity, until this present day.

I was natural for 11months. With that, after months of care, protective styling and using the right products that I found worked well for my hair, my hair was in the healthiest state it’s ever been, it was FULL, THICK, and FULL of KINKS and COILS and I absolutely loved it! BUT then curiosity got the better of me once again, and I wanted to know what I’d look like with shorter hair. I’ve always known myself to have extremely thinned edges, possibly due to all the chemical processing, tight braids, tight hairstyles and weaves. So I was ready to make the ULTIMATE sacrifice and start from the ABSOLUTE BEGINNING… Yes I was ready to SHAVE it all off!

So on the 10th October 2013 I SHAVED off my crown of glory and was faced with a new challenge, one of which I did not believe society was ready to receive. Although I actually adored my bald new look, as I believed it further enhanced my beauty and gave me a greater sense of relief as if I had been relieved of a great burden, my family were NOT accepting of my new look but have now grown to love my new hair and have been very supportive. I guess it was the initial shock that threw them away; also having always had a head FULL of hair and then shaving it all off is what possibly spurred a mixture of emotions.

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I was ready to take that step, if you’re not mentally ready then it can be very hard, as it was rather hard for me but I was ready mentally and physically. I know it’s not favoured by everyone, but I would recommend to anyone who’s deciding upon going natural to consider it, and I am NOT saying there’s a better alternative between the two that being shaving or transitioning, however I actually preferred having shaven my head. When I shaved my hair I felt a great sense of empowerment, and that I could embrace my natural beauty to the fullest and I DEFINITELY realised that my hair did not make me beautiful. It gave me a greater sense of strength, self-love and Afrocentricity. I fell in love all over again with the NEWER version of the NEWLY NATURAL ME! I took a calculated and heartfelt decision and it’s one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life thus far, I LOVE MY UNCONDITIONED ROOTS!

One of the plus sides of shaving my head initially is that I’ve not had to pay too much attention to my hair as I did during my transitioning stages before my FIRST big chop. Also the first big chop allowed me to gain some understanding of my hair and the natural community so the second big chop wasn’t as difficult, I found it a lot easier to adjust and adapt. Ultimately I produced an environment in my hair to allow it to grow HEALTHY and to its fullest potential, I’ve also noticed my edges are a lot healthier and filling out better, although the hair growth there is still a lot slower than the rest of my head but I’m striving for progress not perfection! I also maintain the health and steady growth of my hair with the products I used and continue to use on my hair 100% NATURAL PRODUCTS!

In all, motivation for my blog, UNCONDITIONED ROOTS, is to make sure that I remind those that are natural that their hair is beautiful, that there’s BEAUTY in the uniqueness and versatility of our natural hair. Latterly, God did NOT make any mistakes in our creation our texture is different on purpose we are BEAUTIFULLY, FEARFULLY, WONDERFULLY MADE! So it’s time to embrace our inner deity!!

Although I’d watched some Youtube videos prior to my big chop I started watching more YouTube videos, and then looking at blogs. I then discovered all the natural communities and realised that there’s little platform like this in the UK. So I’ve started this blog. I want to make sure the other UK naturals have access to the information I found/find. I’m still currently learning my hair, I am not perfect but I do progress and would love for you to join me on this journey.

I’ve doubted, enjoyed, been frustrated with and LOVED my natural hair journey so far, so I want to help you enjoy yours. I want to help make taking care of your hair easier for you, distribute valuable knowledge, empower you to stay focused and in tune with your UNCONDITIONED ROOTS and to remind you that you are in a league of your own.”

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“Do NOT look to other forms of beauty because your beauty is UNMATCHED!”

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