Nov 8, 2011

Toya's Hair Diary: Each One Teach One

How often have you been in the hair product aisle in a store seeing someone making this face?  Chances are you've spent some time in an aisle with the same expression.  We all have.  One of the coolest things about natural hair is the instant comraderie you share with someone else who is natural.  Standing in the hair aisle with another natural woman can start an instant friendship or in some cases provide help in an emergency situation.

Last week when Shea Moisture had their BOGO half off special at Walgreen's, as much as I tried to fight it I found my way over there.  I had just bought my Curl Enhancing Smoothie and really didn't need anything else.  However after passing three Walgreens on the way home from work I decided to to get some products for, you know, umm... research.  That's it.  I was really curious about their new Curl Souffle' so I went into Walgreens to search for it.  Not too long after I got there the most precious woman with her head wrapped up in the scarf was walking in the same aisle looking at products with an expression like the one you see above.  "Oh my goodness are you natural?"  she asked me.  I assured her that I was.  Relieved she said "Can you help me?  I just big chopped my hair last night and I don't what to do!" I congratulated her for taking that huge step and let her know that I was more than happy to help.  I also asked if I could give her a hug.  I couldn't help it.  I'm a hugger.

I listened as she shared with me how she decided to go natural after her daughter who is in her early teens wanted to get a relaxer.  She wanted her daughter to stay natural but realized that she didn't have a convincing argument because she herself had a relaxer.  "I didn't even know what my real hair felt like anymore" she said.  So as so many of us have done once we get that much needed burst of confidence and exasperation, she cut it all off.  I had known this woman for all but ten minutes and I was so proud of her!  I was glad to hear how supportive her husband was (kudos to him) and how she has spent hours looking at Youtube videos and reading websites to find out what she needed to use on her hair.  Finally here she was about to take her next step on the wonderful, yet at times stressful, journey of getting to know her natural hair. 

After about fifteen minutes of talking about her hair and my recommending some products to start out with (Shea Moisture's Transitioning Kit) and what not to start out with (a forty dollar jar of something you've never tried before is a no no and a one way ticket to becoming a product junkie) we both left pretty happy. She was relieved and I was grateful for where I am in my own journey.  I love the confidence that I now have in being natural.  I love that women feel comfortable enough to ask me about my hair.  I love encouraging another woman to hang in there and learn to love everything about her hair.  With the internet and more and more resources popping up about natural hair, none of us really have to walk this journey alone.  I'm really grateful for that.  I'm grateful that Melissa started this blog so that we can contribute to the building natural hair community in Nashville. Finally, I'm grateful for all of the women that have encouraged me to hang in there when I was so close to giving in.  It's made the ups and downs of this journey completely worth it.
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