Hair As Identity Menu

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When I wore a natural at my consulting job, I was on a covert cosmetic mission (the image in my mind is making me crack up): keep the naps out of sight at all cost! I want to reflect on a comment I made yesterday about my constant attempts to make my natural hair more palatable to others: “What a waste of time and energy! Given that other women have confided in me that they’ve also engaged in such activities, I can only imagine the loss of mental energy and productivity in the workplace. When people feel that they have to constantly strive to attain an image that is not naturally attainable, such striving cannot lead to their best performance at work or in life.” Strive. That is a perfect word to describe how I related to my hair. According to Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary (, strive means: 1) to devote serious effort or energy, and 2) to struggle in opposition and the word originates from Middle English to quarrel, contend, fight and is similar to the word “strife”. WOW!!!!

I was in a constant process of looking in the mirror, groaning and then doing whatever I could to fight my hair’s natural tendencies. I kept trying to get my hair to comply. Bind it up. At some point, I realized that my striving was futile. If I wanted to wear natural hair, I had to learn how to work with it and stop fighting against it. This poem by Sharon Harvey Rosenberg ( captures this sentiment.


by Sharon Harvey Rosenberg


My unbound hair turns

on itself, coiling

into single-strand

knots and tangles.


I separate

and snip

the locking loops.


There were no knots

when my kinks were









from trees.

But I’m Unbound:

and thanking God

For napping,


Image found at:

  • Makeup by Sherry Blossom

    Awesome poem! Keep striving!! 🙂 Sherry Blossom of Freelance MUA in NY, beauty blogger, youtube and newly natural 3/20/11 (im blogging about my journey as well!)

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