December 09, 2011

A Day in the Life of a Straight Haired Curly Girl

Being natural in a relaxer dominated society is challenging at best, but facing scrutiny within the natural hair community is another issue.  It’s like being a minority within the minority. 
A few weeks ago I chose to straighten my hair.  Yeah yeah, I know heat is the devil, yada yada yada.  We all know the threat of heat damage that comes with the use of the flat iron (dryness, loss of curl pattern, etc.), but before you revoke my naturalista card, let me explain.  About twice a year, curiosity starts to show its nagging head and I begin to wonder how my hair will look straight after wearing it in its curly state for so long.  Mostly it is the desire for a different look that takes over and it usually occurs after watching a fly a$$ Beyonce video where she is flinging her weave all over the place. 

After the battle with my 400 degree ceramic weapon, just hot enough to flatten out my curls one by one, I looked in the mirror expecting to see Beyonce stare back at me.  It was almost as if I had a wig on and I took on a whole new persona.  My hair was pretty, don’t get me wrong.  Tons of movement, lots of shine but I’m no Beyonce, no matter what dance moves I break out into. *cue the “Party” music*.  But my straight strands just laid there all sad and pitiful like.  As the day went on and I caught a few glimpses of myself, it began to grow on me a little.  I figured I might as well make the best out it and rock it for a few days. 

When I was in the company of other fellow naturals, there was a change in dynamic.  I got the side eye on more than one occasion and quickly began to feel as if I was being judged because my hair was straight.  Comments such as:
Why would you put all that heat on your hair?!”
“Now you look like everybody else”
“If you manipulate your curl pattern, you are not natural”
“I thought you were natural?”
I started to feel as if I didn’t belong or I was being kicked off the Natural Island like on Survivor.   I even found myself justifying my decision and explaining myself.  I know “it’s only hair” but it appeared that the camaraderie was missing and I was not allowed to participate in round table discussions about natural hair.  I was made to feel as if my experiences didn’t count because I was wearing my hair straight.  I am wondering if this happens to other naturals when they wear their hair straight.
Do you ever feel “less natural” when you straighten you hair?  Do you look down on fellow naturals who choose to take a break from their curls?

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Anonymous said...

I just stumbled across your blog!

I know exactly what you're talking about. I'll even take it a step further to say that when I straighten my hair, it's so long (been natural for almost ten years) that people that it's a weave as if I can't possibly have length to my hair.

I also don't think that someone's natural card is revoked just because she put heat on it. As long as when the water hits it is curls back up, it's still natural in my book! As long as someone doesn't continually put heat on their hair year round, then I think it's fine to switch up the 'do'. Otherwise, there's no benefit to being able to revert to the au naturale, healthy curls, which is the point of growing natural hair.

Tammy said...

@Anonymous so glad you stumbled upon the blog and hope you continue to read. Thank you so much for commenting. Yeah, its crazy the things that come out of people's mouths. Very judgemental.

Keyy said...

Sometimes being able to straighten out my curls makes some events a little easier. I'll be graduating from college this month and, not that I don't love my curls, but straightening my hair will make it a lot easier to keep my cap on. I was going to ask what products do you use when you straighten your hair?
By the way, this is the author of the first comment.

Samara said...

First let me say I love the necklace and hair in the first photo! Second some ppl get too worried about what other people do to their hair. Lastly, I say ignore the stupidity and whip your hair back and forth.

Anonymous said...

I don't think it's fair for other naturals or anyone for that matter to make a natural haired woman feel otherwise just because of the way that she chooses to style her hair. Being natural is being without chemical period. It's not if you wear a fro or if you don't straighten or if you lock your hair it is the absence of chemicals within the hair. So, please do not worry about what others say enjoy being natural in the different variety that you can (if you like) and rock it well each time knowing that you're still a natural beauty!


Tammy said...

@Keyy I used Garnier Fructis Sleek & Shine as my heat protectant. This was my first time using it and it did "ok". Thank you for reading and commenting!

Tammy said...

@Samara- thanks so much!It's one of my fave pieces but one that you can't wear too often. I think that may have been the only time I've worn it.Thanks for the "willow" advice! :)