I went natural four-and-a-half years ago. For those unfamiliar, going natural is the process of returning your hair to its natural state. Gone were the days of poisonous relaxers and hair breaking off at my shoulders, and yet I realized people had more misconceptions and judgments about my hair than ever before.
In general, people began assuming why I went natural, as if saving money each month and liking big curly hair wasn't reason enough. The problem with the assumptions was mostly that people assumed that the hair that grows out of my head without being altered was some sort of political, social statement: a visual "eff you" to societal standards for women, and more specifically, black women. But, this was not the case.
Every group has a spectrum of people, right? There are the extremists (one lady actually told me I should shave my head and start over because I didn't "big chop" my hair, but rather, cut it gradually), and the moderates (who think natural hair is cool, but maybe not everything they put in it has to be raw, vegan, virgin, or organic), and the ones who basically mind their own business. I fall pretty close to moderate.
So, imagine my shock and happiness at the fact that as a whole, the natural hair community was not judgmental of my choice to wear a weave as a protective style for a month. Sure, braids or twists were always an option, but I wanted straight hair without the hassle, and I got a weave, and everyone was totally okay with it. Despite the stereotype that women fight all the time, it turns out that most of the time, we're all too busy thinking about our own stuff to get hung up on petty things like other women's hair. I don't consider myself less of a natural for putting my hair away for a while, and neither should you.