Last weekend, my husband and I attended a party for someone that’s become a mother to us. Since we love being extra, we decided to get dressed up. My first thought was “what am I going to do with my hair”. I’ve never used any relaxers or chemicals on my hair. Typically, I rely on braids and twists to get me through the year. It’s lower maintenance than styling my own hair. I also usually go a few weeks between those styles to let my real hair breathe. What’s interesting is that during that time, I usually don’t feel like I look my best. It’s like something is incomplete. As a result, I often have a mini panic attack when we have an event during my “off” weeks.
Black women have such a strained relationship with their hair. Largely because of the criticism we face no matter what style we choose. Natural hair? “Unkempt, unprofessional”. Relaxer? “Why aren’t you natural”. Blonde? “You want to be a white woman”. So when the hair isn’t perfect, it instantly knocks our self-esteem down a notch. In my case, I ended up trying a Bantu knot out for the party. Upon releasing the knots to reveal what should have been perfectly defined curls, I was disappointed. I can’t even describe the disaster on my head. It was a mullet. Determined to make it work, I brushed it out and turned it into something that was actually cute!
The next day, I watched Nappily Ever After while preparing for the week. It’s a film about a woman’s journey to love her natural hair, starring Sanaa Lathan. I didn’t expect to fall in love with this movie, but I did. Maybe it was because I’d just experienced my own nappily ever after moment. The film is so relatable and honest. I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t a romantic comedy. I hardly ever cry during movies, but I was so happy for her breakthrough that I found myself shedding tears of joy. What I learned from this weekend and that film is that just a little bit of confidence, makes a huge difference. If you have Netflix, I highly recommend Nappily Ever After. It’s the perfect film to add a boost of self esteem to your life.