March 17, 2014, was my 10-month natural hair anniversary. I have to admit, it seemed like only yesterday that I stood in the mirror and big chopped. Over the last 10 months, I have learned a lot about my hair and the way people view it.
For instance, I notice that the younger sisters on campus come up to me to ask advice on big chop techniques or my favorite products. Or, the way my white colleagues stare in admiration as my hair seems to expand in humid conditions.
When I pass non-naturals both white and black, I no longer feel insecure by their stares. I smile at their amazement and curiosity. I am proud to be a curly girl again.
Natural hair for me is a projection of self-awareness and self-confidence. We have to be confident to wear our hair in an unprocessed state. And, although natural hair is becoming more acceptable, it still takes confidence to rock it.
Briana Whiteside is a graduate student in English at SIUE and a contributing writer for the Cultural Front.