Transitioning to natural hair can be transformative not only for your hair, but also for your life. It teaches you that anything worth having requires mindfulness and patience. As you relearn your hair, you are forced to slow down, pay attention, and appreciate it for the unique characteristics that you once overlooked or frowned upon.
Speaking of frowning, our natural textures don’t always impress us right away, do they? We may have ideas in our heads of how it will look or who we want to look like and if our hair doesn’t cooperate, we want to give up. Tell me that isn’t just how life is!
I stopped relaxing my hair 7 years ago. I transitioned for 3 years. I now have natural, highly textured hair that I love. But that's not even the best part. The best part is who I became through the process. No matter what you look like or where you come from, you will reach a point in your life where you earnestly want to change or feel better about yourself. Of course, not all of us act on this desire for growth. Sometimes change just seems too scary. I was in the scared lot for a very long time until my life became too unbearable not to change it. Right around this time, I decided to stop relaxing my hair. Apparently, so did a lot of other women. Same reasons. Different reasons. Either way, the journey called.
Not everyone understood why I decided to grow out my natural hair, but conviction got me through when criticism and self-doubt tried to burst my bubble. It was a time where I became very self-aware, and I questioned any opinions that did not come from within. I thought about the worst thing that someone could say, accepted it, and moved forward.
The first time I wore my hair in a bush, I was so worried about what people would think and say. Since then, I've found so much freedom and self-confidence from wearing my hair the way I want that I don’t care who doesn’t like it. As a direct result of this new found confidence, I now push myself to do new things in other areas of my life. I feel the uncertainty, but I am fueled by the excitement and the promise of more growth.
Through my transition, I learned to appreciate the texture of my natural hair, which was something I'd always tried to suppress. It was just the wakeup call that I needed. I began to question: What else am I holding back? Why am I limiting myself? After that first taste of personal freedom, I haven't looked back. The experience was a major turning point in my life and I'm still in awe of it.
We all have dreams and visions, but we have to be flexible and realize that there will be surprises and peaks and valleys and that these experiences are more than worthwhile. What used to be considered a setback, a limitation or an annoying patch of new growth can now be seen as an opportunity to be creative and different.
Do you have a habit of sabotaging yourself with negative thinking when you’re trying something new? This is an opportunity for you to change that pattern. Think about what you can learn about your hair and yourself. There will be ups and downs, but that’s true of anything that is worth your time and energy. Don’t be overly discouraged by bad-hair days and the emotions that arise from them. Trial and error is a huge part of the journey. Such is life.
As you become more comfortable and knowledgeable about your hair, you absolutely have to stand back and acknowledge your progress. Reflecting on this reminds you that if there is something you want to do or change about your life, not only can you do it, but you can find amazing beauty in it.
My transition taught me to reconsider things that I didn’t like about myself. It was truly a journey that occurred from the inside out. If you are open to it, transitioning can be a very freeing process, full of vulnerability and unknowns, but also full of lessons that you can apply to your life as a whole. Change is rarely easy, but we always learn from it.
What will your transition teach you?
GG Renee Hill is a writer, blogger and soulful living coach based in the Washington DC area. She writes to help women embrace their complexity and live authentic, creative lives. You can find her sprinkling love dust daily on her blog, All the Many Layers. You can also follow her on Twitter and Instagram @ggreneewrites.