My Natural Hair Journey

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By Catory Goodman

Natural to me has never been anything special. I was natural as a kid and never thought anything of it. When I hit 4th grade my mother gave me my first relaxer. I didn’t get it because I hated my hair or anything like that. I got a relaxer because my mother had to start going to work and the job of my haircare fell to me.

As a child I struggled with caring for my hair because it was extremely thick and long. That’s where the relaxer came in. The relaxer made my hair straight, and doing my hair became so much easier. Sadly, my hair maintence practices were really bad but I didn’t know any better. That combined with a relaxer basically killled my hair. I went from thick hair to the end of my bra strap to thin and barely hitting shoulder length. My hair was like this from 5th grade until recently.

This year my mother did what’s called a big chop in the natural hair community. Her choice prompted me to stop getting relaxers. Also she turned me to YouTube, which has a gigantic community of natural hair guru’s, hair tutorials, and vlogs about women and some men on their natural hair journey. On November 11, 2012, I decided it was time to transition which means to grow my relaxer out until I’m ready to cut it at the desired length.

On March 28, 2013 I decided to big chop. I told my mother that I was ready. She set me up in the bathroom and began cutting my hair. During the process I felt liberated, scared, and happy. It was really enlightening. After, I was left with 4 inches of hair. I went into my room and started looking at my hair. It was a weird experience. I always thought my hair was of a kinkier texture. I found out my hair had loose waves, tight waves, and even some curls in some parts. I was completely surprised. Society always told me that my hair would be “nappy.” Even though I don’t like to admit it, I believed them. After a while I told myself I wouldn’t think about it anymore.

The next week when I went back to school, I was met with a lot of mixed reactions. Peoples asked why did I cut my short or why don’t I just get a weave or flat iron it. It used to bother me, but now it doesn’t. I’m completely okay with what God gave me and even if I have doubts I think of a song by a natural hair vlogger on YouTube. Its called, “Love me naturally” by aliciajamesmusic. Hopefully this commentary gives someone the initiative to do what I did.

This commentary originally aired on Youth Radio’s Core Show.

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