I’ve been natural for over a year now, but it was really only in the last year that I began to wear my natural hair out of protective styles.
I moved to New Jersey and started working a sales job where I interacted with a lot of people. Those with whom I interacted were often as genial and pleasant as I was.
The rule of thumb really was a smile for a smile. However, as far as my coworkers went, none of them really had very much if anything at all to say to me. I often wondered if they judged me by my appearance, but I wore a coat of armor that read, “I don’t care what you think. I am beautiful, inside and out.”
Then came my birthday. After a year of steady hair maintenance, I decided I was doing my curls no favors by exposing them to constant manipulation and the elements. After months of careful research and hair company scrutiny, (Because Lord knows I wasn’t about to just throw some ratchet mess on my head.)
I finally ordered some quality virgin Brazilian hair and a matching frontal. I crafted the wig of my dreams and when I made my first appearance at work, I had three of my co-worker’s approach and introduce themselves to me.
I had one of the managers stop and have a conversation with me and wish me an enjoyable rest of my day. Something he had never done once in the previous three months I had been working there.
Another manager greeted me with such a look of amazement that I couldn’t help but laugh. I literally went from being non-existent to being a distinctive presence at my workplace.
The looks I got from passersby were no longer one-second apathetic glances, but rather curious and prolonged; it became very apparent that I had multiple eyes on me at once wherever I moved. I will say that the length of hair I chose, 24-22-18 inches, was quite dramatic, but I didn’t think it would literally change my life.
I went from being positively ignored, to being the girl everyone wanted to talk to. It got me thinking, was all of this attention really simply due to the length and texture of my hair? Was it that my curly hair just did not fit my face, which is rather full and round?
Suddenly I was beautiful; suddenly I felt desired. Maybe the straight hair brought out my facial features more? Perhaps, but could it also have been due to something more than skin deep? What if this sudden change was due to my own self-perception, which triggered a psycho-physiological response that made me project a more positive and magnetic energy?
Our reality is often born of what we feel, and even though I felt beautiful with my natural hair I wasn’t projecting beauty. I wasn’t projecting my own self-satisfaction, as much as I would have liked to argue the untruth of that statement.