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Insecure, Teenaged 40 year old?

I don’t know what it is, but seeing my family makes me revert to my insecure teenage self when I was just as likely to think that I was going to be the next President of the United States as I was to feel like a nerdy, unattractive social outcast. I, like most us want to please my parents. But, they haven’t seen me for awhile and my waist is three inches bigger than what they’re used to. Plus, I am four+ months after the Big Chop and while I LOVE my twist-out, this style is definitely an acquired taste.


My heart is racing, I have a bit of agita and I’m getting a nervous headache. About to make an important presentation? Being chased by an assailant? No, nothing like that. I’m about to see my Southern family for the first time in a few months. I don’t know what it is, but seeing my family makes me revert to my insecure teenage self when I was just as likely to think that I was going to be the next President of the United States as I was to feel like a nerdy, unattractive social outcast. What is this all about? Why do these feelings emerge? I guess it’s natural…I, like most us want to please my parents. But, they haven’t seen me for awhile and my waist is three inches bigger than what they’re used to. Plus, I am four+ months after the Big Chop and while I LOVE my twist-out, this style is definitely an acquired taste. I’m wondering if its positive reception is affected by the fact that we live in the North. As I’ve blogged before, I’ve heard that the South may not be as hospitable to natural hair (http://tropie7189.blogspot.com/2011/11/north-more-hospitable-to-natural-hair.html).

Despite this angst, I’m going to rock my same self and see what happens. I’ll be sure to share the details. :)

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The North More Hospitable to Natural Hair?

Over Thanksgiving, our family had the pleasure of hosting two Southern Belles, both residing from Tennessee. During one of our many conversations, we talked about our hair. I was curious to hear about what folks in their hometown thought about their natural hair. “They don’t like it”, they chorused, “especially the men”. I’m not surprised, but I was intrigued by their musings that it’s more acceptable to wear natural hair in the North than in the South.

Over Thanksgiving, our family had the pleasure of hosting two Southern Belles, both residing from Tennessee. They are beautiful, Black young women who’ve both decided to don their natural tresses. I love to spend time with young women, they are so fresh, full of life…wait, I am too! Still, they remind me of myself 20 years ago and I love the fact that my profession allows me to so readily connect with such wonderful people.
During one of our many conversations, we talked about our hair. The three of us silently acknowledged that we’ve all chosen a path that, though increasingly accepted nowadays, can lead to resistance. The three of us also share Southern roots. I grew up in Alexandria, VA. Technically that is the South but anyone who’s been there knows that it feels different than the Deep South. My Southern roots were gained from my parents, my Father grew up in Arkansas and Tennessee, my Mom in Georgia and Florida. This explains my penchant for hot sauce (yes, I’ve been known to carry a bottle of hot sauce in my purse in order to doctor up meals that salt and pepper cannot salvage).
Okay, back to my conversation with the young ladies. I was curious to hear about what folks in their hometown thought about their natural hair. “They don’t like it”, they chorused, “especially the men”. I’m not surprised, but I was intrigued by their musings that it’s more acceptable to wear natural hair in the North than in the South. This thought had flitted through my mind in the past but I’d never allowed it to nest. Could this be true? What do you all think? I realize that people all over the globe encounter issues of hair acceptance when it comes to natural hair. If you are not from the United States, I’d love to hear your perspective as well about your own hair experiences.

Image found at: http://www.tableof4please.com/2010_02_01_archive.html

  • Shakena.Renee

    Hmm I find that crazy!! Also a VA native (however from the central/southern area) I rarely know anyone that doesnt have natural hair anymore! With that said….it wasn't until I went to school in MD/DC (which is only about 2 hours away i know lol) that I saw the FLOOD of the natural movement. Ive been natural for about 3-4 years now, although I don't have the thicker hair texture. I personally find it annoying anywhere that I go that people refuse to believe that I'm black because my hair isnt as much kinky as it is curly and soft. Furthermore….I get the side eye regardless *shrug*

  • topie

    Hi Shakena.Renee, thanks for your comment! I know, isn't this crazy? Sorry to hear that you've encountered the, "You're not black if you…" attitude. Whether it's hair, skin tone, speech (proper English rendered me "not Black enough") there are so many things that folks use to categorize. Glad to see you standing up for who you are and not falling prey to others' definition of you. Bravo! Please keep coming back and commenting!

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