Women of African decent decide to go "natural" for various different reasons. I can't speak for anyone but The Fancy One herself. Yes, I refer to myself as The Fancy One. Anyway, my mother grew up very conservative, conforming to society while upholding morals taught to her by her family's matriarch.
"Don't cut your hair, men like long hair."
"Have your own before you get married."
"Never spend your last."
"No shacking up, it looks bad."
I could go on. I would not be surprised if my mother was a virgin when she got married at 26. But this advice is sound and most still hold true today.
Anyway, when I mentioned going natural back in 2000/2001 to my mother who came from a long line of cosmetologists, her response was "For what?". And, at 20 years old, I didn't have any legitimate reason other than "I like big hair." So I continued to submit my self to the application of harsh chemicals to my kinky locs for another 10 years. Under my mother's care, my hair grew to be very long and healthy. People always complimented and commented on it. Mainly because black girls didn't have long hair unless it was "good hair", which I did not.
As I matured and began to embrace myself for who I am, I felt like I was ALWAYS fussing with my hair. Pulling it back, fixing the part, combing it, spraying it, etc. I just wanted to "be". As I became more health and spiritually cautious, eating organic, establishing a regular exercise routine, applying principals I've learned in Bible study, I began to question why I was applying chemicals to my hair when I was avoiding putting chemicals in my body. Then I pondered, if God intended for my hair to be long and flowing tendrils, it would grow out of my scalp that way, right?
So, after a discussion with my husband, who has always been that "Lightskinned, long hair" man, I realized that he didn't care if my hair was straight or nappy, as long it was long. He had even noticed that people with locs have longer hair than those with with relaxers. We decided, together, that I would stop with the relaxers. I don't think he realized what a long, expensive journey this would become. I would have to visit the salon weekly, as I used to style my own hair. I would be experimenting the "natural" hair products, which are more expensive than what I had been using with my relaxed hair. The part he questioned the most, cutting the relaxer out as the natural hair grows in.
A year later, my hair is about 6 inches shorter than it was when I started as I've become more agressive with the "trimming" as my natural hair gets longer. BUT I LOVE my nappy, sometimes dry, Frederick Douglass looking bush. I get compliments on it all the time. No more fussing with my hair. I wake, shake, and put a flower in it. I straighten it about every 2 months for a trim. I like it when it's straight but after about 3 days, I yearn for my bush.
What I find interesting is people's response to my bush. People who thought they knew me seem surprised that I now wear a bush. Some are even intimidated. I guess it does take a lot of guts to walk into a corporate office rocking a business suit, pumps, and a bush with a flower in it. From less mature and, I hate to say it but, less educated women, I get the "Your hair is so pretty when it's straight" or "You should wear your hair straight more often". I hate that society has told them that straight hair is prettier than the cottony bush that God intended them to have. Obviously, they don't know that I have always been a free spirit and never really cared about conforming to society's standards. I feel like my bush empowers myself and others. Now most of the black women in my office are growing their relaxers out. I'm so proud of them. I say "Eff yo' straight hair!"
I have many flaws that I could have been insecure about and, I admit, I used to try to hide. As I grew into the woman I am today, I learned to embrace those flaws and when people ask me "What happened to your hands?" or say "You're so skinny." My response, as of late, has been "That's the way God made me."
The moral: Embrace who God intended you to be....nappy hair and all.