I've always loved that song and what it stood for. I felt so empowered whenever I listened to it. It has such a great message.
But the more deeply invested I become in getting to know my hair, the more I am starting to feel that it does represent a large part of who I am. After all, it was only six months ago that I started wearing protective hairstyles. Before that, I never considered myself "that kind of person." I was strictly sold-out to my straight hair. Anything that even slightly resembled an "Afro-centric" look was a turn-off to me because my self-image was so low that I didn't take pride in the lovely locks that the Lord had blessed me with. Instead, I was ashamed of them, as if my curls were shouting for undeserved attention.
For years I struggled to "fit in" with my mostly white community, and as a result, I suppressed any and every aspect of myself that would make me stand out from the crowd, and the number one thing to go was my hair. Since I'd started getting relaxers from a young age, I didn't even remember what my natural hair looked like. But I knew I had to avoid moisture at all costs, otherwise my artificially straight hair would turn into a mess. Somehow I'd convinced myself that if I kept every hair in place then no one would notice me and how different I was, and I wouldn't have to deal with people pointing at my hair and asking me why it looked "like that."
Now, what feels like eons later, I would answer that question with, "Like what?" because I know my hair is awesome! Recently I shared with my husband that when I was growing up I would always look at white girls' straight, "perfect" hair and wish that I could have it. Now, whenever I'm out and about and I see straight-haired white women, I wish they could know what it's like to have my hair texture, because I can do so much more with it! Is that arrogant? I don't know. For me, it's a huge VICTORY! My hair does deserve attention, and I am going to see to it that it gets it!
If you have yet to embrace your natural hair, I encourage you to ask yourself why. If your reasons for relaxing are all external, maybe you should consider going natural. Take it from me, a black girl who turned a source of shame into a source of pride: if you can lay down the creamy chemical and commit to getting to know your hair, you'll find that there is much more to this "natural thing" than you may think. ;)