“I hate to say it, but I wanted to relax my hair…”
When did you go natural? Did you big chop or transition? These are just a couple of questions that you ask someone that you’re trying to get to know as it pertains to their natural hair. I’ve also asked these questions in person and in interviews for this blog , but I can’t personally answer them because I’ve never relaxed my hair.
I’ve been natural for 27 years. Although I’ve been natural for so long, I can only take ownership for the last 6 years. Up until 2009, my hair has been maintained by my mother, kitchen beauticians, or professional hair braiders with actual salons. It was not until 2009, that I became conscious of maintaining my hair through research. When I say research I mean diving into the YouTube world and discovering the natural hair community that was on there. I found inspiration and natural hair care education in YouTubers like BlackOnyx77 , African Export, and Naptural85. I learned not only how to care for my thick, kinky 4c hair, but I came to love it. However, I wasn’t always happy to be nappy.
When I was younger, you couldn’t catch me outside of my home with my hair out in a fro or even some jumbo prison braids. I thought I looked crazy and that my hair was not pretty. In elementary school, most girls were still natural , but that changed drastically by the time I got to high school. The majority of my female classmates wore relaxed hair or were wearing weaves. I hate to say it, but I wanted to relax my hair too.
I wanted to relax my hair because everyone else was relaxed. Seeing my classmates simply make a couple of passes with a fine toothed comb to yield perfectly laid hair was something I wanted to be able to do. I knew that my hair was just as long as theirs, shoot sometimes even longer than theirs, but my hair didn’t hang down. I wanted to show that my hair was just as long. I wanted to have hair to swipe out of my face, hair to put up in hair bobble and use a ton of gel to create that silly peacock, fan looking style with the hair on the other end. I wanted those fly away hairs at the nape of my neck. I didn’t know it then, but it was hair that was broken. I wanted to relaxed my hair for all these reasons, but I never did thanks to my dad.
My mother was the constant in my life. However, one thing that I will love my dad forever for, is when he put his foot down about me getting my hair relaxed. He was adamant about me not doing it until I was an adult and on my own. I was not upset at all (well maybe just a little), but was looking forward to the moment I could relax my hair.
Many years of protective styles passed and before I knew it I was in college focused on getting my Bachelors of Science in Biology. My hair was the last thing on my mind, but I did realize that I was an adult. Technically I could go to a salon and relax my hair, but the perception of natural hair in society was just beginning to change. I noticed more women making the decision to go natural here in the VI and in the media. Those that were still relaxed were starting to rock afro texture hair pieces. Drawstring afro puffs had become such a trend that people were asking if my own puff was a hair piece. It was at that point that I decided to stay natural.
To me it didn’t make sense to relax my hair only to turn around and start rocking styles that mimic natural hair. It made better sense to love my hair for what it is and wear wigs or weaves whenever I wanted the look of relaxed hair.
I started to do my own hair in 2009 and started to document my styles in a Facebook album called Mika’s Naptural Styles (Naptural85 obviously inspired the name). Through inspiration from YouTube tutorials and flat out experimenting, I learned that there is so much that I can do in my hair. I even learned to do my own kinky twists and marley twists thanks to the WorldofBraiding YouTube channel. Although I got lots of inspiration from YouTube, I felt that women with my kinky, thick 4c texture were not being represented enough. That fact partially contributed to my decision to start making YouTube videos in addition to starting this blog. I want to inspire and encourage women to love their hair for what it is and to understand that they can conquer it.
This is my natural hair story and the journey continues.Shamika “Mika” George
Founder of the blog LUVMIKA87 and LUVMIKA YouTube Channel . She shares content about her 4c natural hair , personal plus size style, island life (St.Thomas, US Virgin Islands) , DIYs and all things creative. Shamika has created her own medium to share her passions and creative side that doesn’t get its shine time at her 9 to 5 environmental regulatory job.[/author]