"The LORD is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear?"

- Psalms 27 : 1

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Thinking Of Going Natural? : Support


Are you thinking of going natural? Or maybe you have already made your mind up? Have you voiced your decision to anyone around you in all excitement, only to realize they do not share your enthusiasm?
Well, don't worry, you're not alone.

When I decided to go natural, the first time and this second time, I got little to no support. Most people around me were skeptical and doubted I would even survive the journey, that is, they thought I would give up the journey once I saw they were not in my court. It's that same skepticism hat has turned to disbelief for some of them, when they see me now. This post is not for me to put my natural journey into details but I just wanted to show you that I can totally relate to your situation.

First of all, there are different types of support. The first kind is the direct kind of support, where you tell someone close to you (a brother, sister, mother, best friend...) about your desire to stop perming your hair and wear your kinky God - given hair and you expect that person to show a certain amount of support. Maybe they'll congratulate your boldness and offer to hold your hand when you go to the saloon to do the big chop.
The second kind is the one I call intermediary support. It's where you, maybe over a dinner at a friend friend's place,  express your opinion about natural hair while talking about a subject related to hair. In this case your friends and the others invited could interact and share ideas about perming or being natural and though you do not share the same ideas they could s
cheer you on and tell you to go for it!

The third kind of support is the indirect kind. This is where someone you might have shared your decision to go natural with (person A) might have mentioned it to someone else (person B). Person B could be someone close to you or not but whatever the case, they could respond to person A by cheering you on and sharing what they know about natural hair or they might pass on the "exciting" news to their friends and family. This person could even come up to you one day (maybe after your big chop or while transitioning) and tell you how they heard about your decision to go natural and how they think you are very brave (in this case, person B would be showing the intermediary kind of support).

These are all examples to illustrate the fact that support comes in different ways and I have categorized them into three.

In the same way, there are different ways of showing support:

1. Verbal support : this is the one where someone actually says they think you are brave, and that you'd look great as a natural etc.
2. Physical support : This is where a friend or family member holds your hand or hugs you to show some love when they see you are having a bad hair day or are frustrated with taking care of your hair.
3. Visual support : this is the case where after telling a close confident about you going natural, you see a smile creep up on their face or maybe a frown.

Now after laying the right foundation, we can finally talk fully about this support we all desire at the beginning of our natural hair journeys.
The main type of support we all seek is the direct one and we want it to be shown through the three different ways of showing support. We want our siblings to cheer us on, we want our parents or spouses to hug us and say "you go girl" and we want our friends to smile brightly at us, when we say those words "I am going natural". Well, at least we want it to be more or less something like that. The truth of the matter is, it's not always like that. Only a small number of natural get 100% support! Now we have to understand why this doesn't happen:

1. Most people are conformists
2. Most people believe in the present idea of beauty, the one the media propagates, that is straight hair  = beautiful.
3. Some people think natural hair is weird, cannot be beautiful, unmanageable, dirty etc.

This is normal because they just aren't informed. Actually, this is not normal because natural hair should be the norm but it isn't. Either way, it's not like your friends or family do not want to support you on purpose, they just don't believe in what you are doing.

So it's up to us!

It hurts to not have your parents, friends, siblings even your husband support you on the rocky journey but you have to stand strong! I cannot tell you how many naturals are brought low and are denied support by their closest ones! My advice is :

1. do not take it against them. They do still love you but believe what you are doing is not right.

2. do not think about it. The more you do this, the more you hurt yourself. Do not take into consideration any hurtful action from their part but keep it cool. Do not argue or fight with anyone (especially those closest to you) because of your hair! Avoid it even if they provoke you.

3. remind yourself why you are on this journey. Whatever your goal is, keep this in your mind at all times. Whether it's healthier hair or longer hair whatever it is, or you just want to rock your kinks, then keep reminding yourself.

4. stay positive. Keep yourself as optimistic as possible. Even if you are having a bad hair day, or you are just plain tired, just stay optimistic.

5. encourage yourself in the Lord. Yes! Remember this always. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. Nothing any mortal says can ever change that.

6. spend time with other naturals. This is another great way to encourage yourself. I do not know about you but when I see another natural, I fell so encouraged. If you do not know another natural, then go online, their are tons of natural hair blogs, youtube channels, forums, websites, where you can meet other naturals and learn from them.

7. show and tell. Show off the beauty of your natural hair! Let everyone see, even those that have not been supportive! Let them know that your hair is beautiful and even if they don't think so, let them know you think so. Do this in love, not in contempt or hate, or vengeance, but in love and joy.

8. Keep on going! Yes, do not slack or give up! There will be hard days and other days will be easier than some but just keep on going!

9. have fun. Have fun with your hair! Let the world know that natural hair is fun! Believe me, many will be attracted to your "fun" and want to know all about it.

In time, some who did not start out by supporting you, will most likely eventually admit you look great, just be patient and show all respect to their opinion (though it's hard). That's my advice to you, based on my experience. Don't let winning people's hearts be a goal, or else, you night just be miserable, rather follow these steps and enjoy your hair to the fullest and whether support comes or not, you will get to a level where you will not even need it anymore and it will only become an accessory. Please note, this is not a  "how to make people support you on your natural journey" post but rather a post about support.

If you have any personal experiences or additions, please share!

Stay blessed and funky!

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