Am Hair

I ‘AM’ MY Hair

Written By: Candace Lelo

I dibble and dabble in different styles but nothing makes me feel more like me than being in the skin I’m in rocking my own natural hair.

Little girls are brought up to believe that their crown is their glory. And like all girls, I, too, was instilled with the same belief. Hair: It’s what makes a woman stand out. It accentuates her beauty.

I got so many compliments from people about how long and beautiful my hair was as a child; and I internalized it. Then, I cut it as a pre-teen. I was questioned non-stop. ‘Why did you cut off all that beautiful hair?!’ I cut my hair because I knew it would grow back. I wanted something different. From 5 to 95, this is what girls do. Feeling like you want a change? Cut your hair. Feeling like you need a new start? Cut your hair. Out with the old and in with the new? Cut your hair.

Hair is symbolic of so much more than strands of keratin. Something about changing up a hairstyle is empowering. I chopped off my relaxed hair to go natural. My goal was to start anew with a head of healthy hair unaltered by chemicals. I wanted to see how my hair would flourish in its natural state.

I went extreme and got a fade, which is a very low haircut. I got so many positive responses. I didn’t get this response when I went to college, walked onto a division one track team, or even moved out of state on my own. At first I was perplexed. People called me brave, courageous, daring. Why all of the accolades for shaving my head? But those are the words people associate with a woman cutting off all of her hair. It may sound silly, but I felt the change this cut gave me. I felt empowered. I felt people could see me better. I could even see myself better.

Photo By: Unique Perspective Photography

Photo By: Unique Perspective Photography

Two years later this hair is all grown out. And I feel like this kinky curly afro is all me. As I have cared for it, it has taken on a life of its own. It is my crown and glory. My goal was and still is to see my hair flourish. I dibble and dabble in different styles but nothing makes me feel more like me than being in the skin I’m in rocking my own natural hair. Not to knock the girls who say they are not their hair. But this hair…its just a part of me. I “AM” MY Hair.

 Did you enjoy this article? Can you relate? Leave a comment below!

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  1. elisa
    elisa10-02-2014

    Awesome article. I believe a womans hair style can affect her state of mind.

  2. Tara Williams
    Tara Williams10-02-2014

    Great article! I really enjoyed it! As we all know, WE ARE OUR HAIR,LOL! Again, great article, keep up the great work!

  3. Karen Anthony
    Karen Anthony10-02-2014

    Lelo, I can relate to this article, your description of your feelings were on point. I have rocked a natural from time to time, short hair, then long again, permed, slicked back, always seeking to enhance the inner sexy. That’s the beauty of a woman, we have the wherewithal to know when to go with the flow and consistently reinvent ourselves to “Our” liking. Continue to embrace your natural especially if it brings out the best in you!

    ~Karen Anthony

  4. chantellyelly
    chantellyelly10-02-2014

    Great read…thanks!

  5. ABBY
    ABBY10-02-2014

    THIS IS A GREAT ARTICLE. VERY REAL WORDS. I AM SO GLAD THAT YOU DECIDED TO TAKE THE STEP BECAUSE THERE ARE SO MANY WOMEN WHO DO NOT HAVE THE STRENGTH TO BE “ME”
    NATURAL IS THE HEALTHIEST WAY TO GO EVEN IF IT IS YOUR HAIR….:-)

  6. Candace Lelo
    Candace Lelo10-02-2014

    Thank you all for reading the article. I am glad to see so many of you can relate. Also, thanks for sharing some of your stories! It is not always easy to be comfortable in your own skin at first, but as time goes on and confidence increases, it becomes more than worth it!

  7. TLMarshall
    TLMarshall10-02-2014

    Good to see a woman who feels so strongly about having real hair in 2014. Nice article keep expressing yourself.

    • Candace Lelo
      Candace Lelo10-06-2014

      Thanks! I definitely will continue to expressing myself. One of lives greatest liberties!

  8. John E.
    John E.10-03-2014

    I’ve read the article; and from a male point of view I couldn’t agree more with the author on raving about her hair and it’s significance to her as a woman. I’m a firm believer in the philosophy of being happy in your own skin – :-)! Good luck Ms. Lelo! & keep looking forward!

    John

    • Candace Lelo
      Candace Lelo10-06-2014

      Thank you John!

  9. Jide M
    Jide M10-05-2014

    Awesome to see a strong woman write about being all natural and motivate others to do the same. Being proud of who you are and using it to help others will take you a long way Good Luck Candace!!

    • Candace Lelo
      Candace Lelo10-09-2014

      Thanks, Jide!

  10. James
    James10-06-2014

    I enjoyed the article and I agree it’s always good to be comfortable and happy in your own skin. What was one of the biggest challenges you faced when you first went natural?

    • Candace Lelo
      Candace Lelo10-07-2014

      Thanks, James!

      For me, the most challenging part of going natural was learning my hair. I took good care of my hair when it was relaxed but the care for natural hair differs; because you never know which products your hair will respond to. Also, as your hair grows it changes and your look changes as well. Surprisingly, that is also part of what made it so fun. Reinventing myself and trying new styles ultimately enhanced my overall experience and made me more knowledgeable about my hair.

  11. Erin
    Erin10-07-2014

    So true, so much emphasis is placed on hair but I’m glad people are talking about it and embracing their natural beauty. Great article.

    • Candace Lelo
      Candace Lelo10-09-2014

      Thank you, Erin! This is very true. I am glad as well!

  12. London J
    London J10-14-2014

    So as i read makes me remember when i grew my hair out in 2008. I hated when black women asked me why did i grow my hair out. Rarely had a male “hate” on my hair. Well they probably didn’t care but just still hated that black women disliked me growing my hair out. Once it got to the point where my hair would fall over my forehead and into my mouth, i was told i need to cut it off. I grew it for four years and doing so you just cant go into a barber and cut it off. It got to a point where it stopped growing in length and just got thicker. They only reason why i cut it is because of a job opportunity after i got fired from my previous job. But looking back and seen people cutting there hair off and growing it backs makes me want to grow it back. Good read. Love when women of color choose this route. Natural is very beautiful ans most of all sexy. I could go on about that but may encourage me to grow it back ☺

    • Candace Lelo
      Candace Lelo10-18-2014

      Thanks for reading and providing another aspect of natural hair which is natural hair and men. That is a topic within itself as well. I’d advise to do what is best for you. If you like your hair long and it fits within your lifestyle go ahead and do it. At the end of the day its your hair and you are the one who has to care for it.

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