Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Thoughts on one year natural


Last month marked one year of me being fully natural. In the past I've put together 'hair updates' to mark any differences or goals reached but what I've noticed is my hair hasn't dramatically changed in the past year. What has changed though is me - how I feel about myself and my attitude - and having natural hair has been a huge part of that.


The change I've seen in myself as you'd expect didn't happen overnight. When I initially chopped off the last of my chemically treated hair back in May 2016 my feelings about my natural hair were mixed. I'd never been totally satisfied with my hair throughout my life and as I've always adored curls on others I thought I'd love my natural hair. In reality I felt ugly initially and I worried whether people would accept the natural me.

With big hair you instantly stick out and being an introvert has always made me want to blend in. My instinct was to hide my hair - which I've done as both relaxed and natural. I'd take select photos of my hair to post online mostly as I felt it was a safe space occupied by fellow curlistas where I could be my natural self. In person however I mostly tucked away my bushy curls from friends, family and my boyfriend by always wearing it up in a neat bun.

As the months went by blogging and working with brands which celebrate individuality and diversity (particularly freelancing with ASOS) encouraged me to wear my hair out more in person. I've found my boyfriend, close friends and family to be nothing but supportive about my natural hair too which made me wonder what I was so worried about. Complete strangers also regularly stop me in the street and on public transport to compliment me on my curls. I'm still stunned every time it happens. I never, ever expected that sort of reaction and I realised most of my anxieties and insecurities were in my head.

The takeaway? I view my negative feelings about my hair as an expansion of how I'd felt about myself for years. I've always been my worst critic and it was truly stifling. I knew I couldn't continue that way and I needed to accept myself as I was (frizz and all). I've stopped pursuing perfection - it's not attainable anyway and my flaws don't need fixing - and this belief has helped me feel more comfortable in my own skin however I choose to wear my hair.


It feels bizarre saying it but the Coco Chanel quote "A woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life" has never rung truer for me than it has in the past year. Cutting off the last of my relaxed hair has led to me gaining so much more than a new a hairstyle. It forced me to accept and love things I previously didn't like about myself. It's given me a new lease of life.


I hope you all know what beautiful women (or men) you are already but just in case you feel like I once did know that you are enough as you are. 


Lesley x