Natural in Iowa: A Work in Progress

I did not have a black beauty epiphany about the cultural relevance of natural hair when

Fully transitioned TWA

Fully transitioned TWA

I decided to let my relaxer grow out. I have always loved the wonderful, creative things that we black women can do with our hair. Mine had been “fried, dyed, and laid to the side” for quite some time. The decision to “go natural” was really just a matter of circumstance. I was happy with my relaxer and my pixie cut. Of course, there were some issues. In the summer, the relaxer changed the color of my hair from black to brown. Also, I had a spot where my hair seemed to be thinning, and I was sure this came from all the years of relaxers. But I probably would have still been wearing it the same way if I had not moved to Iowa two years ago. Yes. . . Iowa.

Finding a salon where I can get my hair done is usually one of the first things I do when I move to a new place. I can usually accomplish this by simply spotting someone with a stylish cut and inquiring where she got her ‘do. But the pickings were slim here. I found no one whose hair I admired. I searched the web and I found a few salons that looked promising. One  turned out to be closed. Another looked so shady that I didn’t go in. I tried one very professional-looking salon, but the hair stylist gave me a haircut that I could have done at home with a bowl. If I wanted to find a good salon, I was probably going to have to drive to Des Moines, a much larger city than where I live. I just wasn’t willing to make a two-hour drive to get my hair done. Finally, I decided I would go to the barber shop with my husband and get one of the barbers to cut my hair.

Well, my hair looked okay, but not really the way that I wanted it. It wasn’t laid. This went on for a while, as I debated internally and with Da Hype 1 about what to do. Finally, I decided that what I’d been doing was no longer working for me. It was time to shake things up, so in January 2013 I stopped relaxing my hair.

Four weeks after last relaxer. Only the top remained.

Four weeks after last relaxer. Only the top remained.

That was seven months ago. The perm is long gone and my TWA is in effect. Since my hair was already short, there was no need for “the big chop.” After one month, most of the perm was gone anyway.

I’ve received some compliments: My neighbor told me that my hair was “cool.” But I’ve also been informed that my hair is “densely packed” and that I need something to “loosen the curl pattern.” Hmm.. . sounds like code for nappy. But I’m not bothered by that.

At this point, I don’t know if I can consider the “transition” a success. It’s a work in progress. I don’t know what the future holds. Will I become impatient and relax it again? Will I keep it short, let it grow? Who knows? Wish me luck, y’all.


6 thoughts on “Natural in Iowa: A Work in Progress

  1. It looks fine especially if your content with it. I’m totally how u used to be probably worse cause I would drive all the way to the Chicago and get my sewin and then drive all the way back home.

  2. When I went home to Baltimore, it really did help me to see so many different naturalistas. I know that if I can not find a stylist here, I can take a trip elsewhere. I know that you may not have those same opportunities. I can only imagine how difficult it is for you in IA.

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