I have now been seriously trying to take care of my Natural Hair for a good few months whilst still wearing wigs. The quality of my natural hair has improved tremendously and is the best quality it has been in years.
The regime is hard, especially when going from minimal to no effort at all! Making the new regime part of my normal routine has been a struggle for me at times. That said, I do find that a reminder to myself about why I am doing this quickly gives me the kick I need.
The biggest hurdle I have faced and still struggle with is excepting the shift in my physical appearance when I release my natural curls. I feel like I look so different, I feels like I am looking at someone completely foreign to my perception of me. For so long my natural hair played no part in my physical identity.
My hair is currently going through (what I would call) the "awkward" phase. I have chopped off all of my split ends so my hair is shorter than I can ever remember it being, making versatile styling difficult; but it is still too long to be really classified as the "short look".
With my faux styles, I have been able to do professional, chilled out, smart casual, party girl, raver and glamorous, and have been feeling a bit nervous over the thought of having to lose any of those looks. I worry sometimes, that I won't ever feel like me with my natural hair.
Despite my concerns, I anticipate that over time my natural hair will take its rightful place as part of my physical identity, as I do feel more connected with my mane more and more everyday. I am not against faux styles. I believe in choice, and will always encourage people to express themselves through their physical identity, if that is the way they choose to express themselves.
However, I do think that there is a culture of "perfection by destruction", and sometimes we do our bodies (and sometimes our bank balances) a lot of damage. My aim in this journey is to attempt to correct some (hopefully all!) of the self-inflicted damage done to my hair and scalp.
I can't say I won't use wigs again as they give me the freedom to care for my natural hair whilst being very versatile in colour and length or, that I won't use braids again as I like the look. Moderation, minimal high stress styling and allowing your natural hair time to get the love and care it deserves is key, I believe.
Have you been through any major physical changes that you have struggled to recognise as a part of your physical self? Or felt that changes to your physical appearance greatly altered people's perception of you?