Saturday, December 3, 2011

Kiss Her Curls!

We didn’t expect the reception we received.

November 29, 2010, when my sister and I created Kiss My Curls, we envisioned a simple Twitter account that would allow us to clear some of the mystery surrounding our natural hair. We signed up with a name (after several that we tried were taken) found a photo that we thought conveyed our “kinky hair, don’t care” persona and set out with our first tweet.

Almost a year later with more support than we knew what to do with, we decided it was high time we change our avatar before we find ourselves slapped with a lawsuit.

Get up close and personal at
So with that we announced our avatar contest for anyone who felt they could give the best KMC face. And did we ever get face! Our inbox was filled with so much attitude, I damn near got offended! Everything from candid camera kisses to professional photo shoots in the park, you ladies sure brought on the competition!  

But among the sea of admissions, one stood out. A lady with her head tossed back—a sign of freedom. The look on her face was one of sweet serenity and yet undeniable confidence. Not to mention the super funky hair do. And just in case we missed the point she added this:
I think my photo portrays how I feel about my hair----throwing my head
back as a sign of relief. Finally I'm free! Free of damaging
chemicals, free of societies depiction of what "beautiful" is, and
free of being anything like anyone else. No matter how I wear my hair,
it will always and forever be MY HAIR.”

Our sentiments exactly!

And so with no further ado, here’s the lady you all will come to know and love over this next year, Jere’.

Curlologists: What were your thoughts about your natural hair when you were a child?

Jere': When I was a child, my hair was long and thick. My mother never really had the patience to deal with my head full of hair because I was EXTREMELY tender headed and couldn't stand to have my hair combed. I absolutely DREADED hair washing day, for I knew it meant hours of pain, aggravation and frustration.

At about age seven or eight, I began to go the hair salon to get my hair washed, conditioned, blow dried and hot combed. I can remember everyone in the shop watching me in awe while my stylist hot combed it straight. They all would say, "Whoo! That baby got a lotta hair!" Because of that, I was very proud of my hair. Each and every time I went to the shop, people would compliment my hair on how naturally jet black it was, how long it was and how thick it was. After getting it hot combed, I would run to the mirror and swing it around, comb it and just look at it. I LOVED my hair!

C: What caused the start of your natural hair journey?

J: I first decided that I wanted to wear my hair natural in April 2010, a month before graduating from grad school. I was relaxed with a short funky hair cut, and my new growth would surface within about three to four weeks after relaxing. Having that short cut required me to get relaxers and touch-ups way more frequently and it was beginning to get very expensive. When my new growth came in, I would always touch it and play with it. I liked the way the texture felt--- a lot!

Let's back track a bit. As mentioned before, my mother NEVER had the patience to deal with my hair, and at age 12 I got my first relaxer. I liked it. I liked that it was straight, and it was much easier to do my hair on a daily basis. At this age I was doing my own hair for school. I wore NOTHING but gelled back ponytails and buns. After about six months relaxing, I saw a DRASTIC change in my hair. I lost about five inches of hair, the color lightened up, and it wasn't as thick. I continued getting my hair relaxed because I thought I had to. I've been relaxing my hair from age 12 to 24.

After being reunited with my natural texture through playing with my new growth, right then and there I decided that I would not get another relaxer. I hadn't researched anything, I wasn't even aware of the new natural movement. I didn't know what I was going to do with my hair; I just knew that I did NOT want another relaxer in my head. So this is where I began my journey.

C: What obstacles have you faced since going natural?

J: Because of my lack of research prior to my decision to go natural, I did not properly take care of my hair during my transition. I decided to wear sew-ins until my relaxer grew out, but I left out the front, back, and sides of my real hair to cover the tracks. I constantly flat ironed those parts, and as a result they are severely damaged from the heat. #Fail. Now that I am more educated on natural hair care, I'm tempted to BC and start all over, but I'm not sure yet.

Now this next one may not seem like a huge obstacle to others, but for me it's letting my boyfriend see me in the evening or at night after I have twisted my hair. We all know that the prep-twists the night before aren't the sexiest of styles, lol, so I'm trying to get comfortable with him seeing me in twists and bonnet. He says he doesn't care, but its more about how I feel.

C: What's the best thing about being natural?

J: The best thing about being natural is standing out and daring to be different. I absolutely hate to blend in. Everyone's hair texture is different. Although it may be similar to someone else's texture, no two heads are ever the same. I also like how my hair has a mind of her own and she's free spirited like I am. I can twist my hair at night and prep for it to come out a certain way, but if it doesn't want to come out the way I wanted it to, it won't! But she never fails to naturally fall into a cute style. I'm surprised every morning!

C: What differences have you noticed since going natural?

J: Since going natural, I get so many compliments from random strangers. Men, women, young, old, it doesn't matter. I was in the nail shop and this white lady said, "I just love your hair". I thanked her, then she went on to explain that she works in a law firm and how she wished her African American co workers would wear their hair like mine. She said she thinks it's beautiful!

Based off of my personal experience, white men & women, and black MEN love natural hair. When a black woman compliments me, she's already a natural or thinking about going natural. Sometimes it seems like it's #teamnatural vs #teamrelaxed among black women. I love the natural hair movement and I pray it doesn't create another dividing line between African American women like the dark skin vs. light skin dilemma. Hair texture does not make you more or less of person.

C: You're our face for the next year! Any special messages to our followers?

J: For those of you thinking about going natural, please do your research! There are 1000's of Youtubers, bloggers, vloggers, authors, and stylists out there who can help you and answer any questions you may have about going natural. Just remember, they can help you with the basics, but the real journey begins with you getting to know your hair. You must understand your hair, embrace its flaws, and know its likes and dislikes.

I don't know about anyone else, but I treat my hair as I would my child. I nourish it, care for it gently, feed it, wash it, and even dress it up! Only you will truly know your hair. Stay positive throughout your journey. You will get frustrated, angry, and maybe even discouraged. Just be patient. Immature people may try to belittle you, joke, or tell you that you are crazy for your decision to go natural. Don't let them. Never conform! As long as you are confident and true to yourself, nothing else should matter.