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Wearing Natural and it Feels So Good (to the tune of “Reunited” by Peaches & Herb)

The beautiful Mrs. Esther Rege Berg

The other day, I got the following note from Esther Rege Berg, a high school friend, that made tears of gratitude stream down my face.

Hi Tina,

I hope this note finds you well. I wanted to drop you line and let you know that your blog inspired me to not just go natural, but “wear” natural!

For years I’ve worn my hair in braids – mainly for the sake of convenience. I’d alternate between braids and wearing it straight. Last year, I had been in braids for a few months before I found out I was pregnant. Before the braids I had been getting it straightened with a Keratin treatment (a very toxic procedure) so it was all braids all the time until after the baby. So Avery was born in May, and I came back to work just after Labor Day. I *needed* to do something different with my hair because I started to notice that the little braids were taking a toll on my hairline.

Originally, my plan was to remove the braids and get another Keratin treatment. When I realized that the harsh chemicals would come in contact with little Avery’s face (holding her and such), I rethought the plan. With the braids out, I was doing what I had always done: blow-dry and flat iron straight until I make the next move.

Not long ago, I came across your blog on a rainy day that made me feel that it would be foolhardy to leave the house without the flattening iron. Your blog reminded me how I felt years ago when I did the Big Chop, and how empowering the TWA truly is. Why go through such gymnastics and fight nature trying to straighten hair that very obviously does not want to be straight?

I read more on your site, checked out a bunch of the blogs that you follow, and watched a bunch of videos on YouTube, and today I came to work with my hair out and as kinky/curly as it wants to be! It feels great knowing that everything on my head is organic and even better not living in constant fear of the weather!

All of that being said, I just wanted to thank you for your blog and let you know that I’d be happy to be interviewed if you’re still looking for people to talk to.

All the best,
Esther Rege Berg

Esther, I am so proud of you! Everytime I read your note, I get verklempt. Thank you for sharing and I can’t wait to watch your journey! 🙂

  • Esther B

    Wow… verklempt! I'm thrilled to be a part of your blog. First, thank you for YOUR kind words and for YOUR support. As I mentioned before, this blog has been a great resource.As for my hair, with the exception of a few greys, it's been great having the hair I had as a little girl! Funny how easy it is to forget what you started with. I've gotten plenty of compliments, but most of all, I feel good and it's a lot easier than I imagined it'd be.Thanks again, and I'll keep you posted on the journey. Hugs!

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Interracial Friendship and self-discovery

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My mind has been whirring as I reflect on the interracial friendship “issue” that my daughter recently encountered at a local beach. Ugh. I definitely think that I allowed my personal baggage to interfere when I responded to the little girl’s question about whether or not my daughter was black and the little girl’s comment that my daughter’s hair was very, very short. I in no way want to burden my daughter with my issues. However, I also don’t want her burdened with other folks’ issues. I truly believe that the little girl was curious and learning how to explore difference. Yet, too many times it feels that majority folks don’t train their children on the best way to go about it. They are allowed to ask, say whatever comes to their mind because “they are just children” after all. Well, some of those questions, inquiries, comments, statements, etc. can be offensive. I think it is imperative that we as parents be the vanguard to teach our children that they will encounter people who are different than they are and that the best bet is to first develop a relationship with people without bombarding them with questions. Plus, if you really have to know, ask your Momma first! Just my opinion. What do you all think?

I love the fact that the blog is opening up conversation about this topic. One of my girlfriends from New York had this to say:

“I also wanted to share something that Part 1 reminded me of. It made me wonder when I learned the social construct of calling myself “white.” I was visiting my parents recently and found an old blue book from second grade (the contents of which were very amusing!) Anyway, one of my stories was a description of myself and I described myself as having peach skin. I’m sure that’s because I always used the Peach Crayola to color pictures of myself. It’s funny though, because it’s actually a more accurate description.

Yes, we all are on a journey of self-discovery and learning about those around us. I hope that this is a safe space for you to share your honest thoughts and opinions. Please chime in! J

  • topie

    Sue, can you explain what you mean by "that is one for the cultures"? I want to make sure I understand before I respond. Thanks again for posting your comments! 😉

  • a3dfc142-8cc3-11e0-8a41-000bcdcb471e

    Just meant that culturally there are some different standards. As I stated my family had specific norms they adhered to. There are others who would suggest that my looking them in the eye while talking to them is a matter of disrespect. I have also run into individuals who feel it is OK to talk about peoples finances. As you have stated in your next post , it is a matter of explaining to our children what we believe they should understand,how they should act and how to react to things others say. We as parents of diverse backgrounds cannot always nail everything our children may run into,we should teach them a little tolerance of others ignorance.We must also teach them to use their heads when speaking out either on their own thoughts or against someones ignorance.

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