Meet Denia- Going Natural in College

Denia is a college student at Spelman College and she is sharing her thoughts on being natural.

Hair Background:

Because I was relaxed by my mother at age 5, I’m one of those people who never thought about my natural hair because well, I didn’t see it for most of my life! In school I always knew most of the black girls around me wore their hair straight unless it was a looser curl pattern like ringlets or waves.  No one around me rocked tightly curled hair(like mine) in its natural state.

I can’t say it enough; I am always inspired by pictures! When I decided to grow out my hair, it was while I was perusing through my childhood photographs, back when my hair was way down my back. I haven’t seen my hair that length since before the relaxer.

How was your transition?

My transition was hard.  When I first began transitioning(in college), I was simply pressing out the new growth while gradually snipping away at the relaxed ends.  Because of this, I had two textures of hair on my head or a while.

I later realized that pressing out the new growth was not the move.  My new curls were being distorted and loosened before I even gave them a chance to thrive and be strong!  That’s when I became obsessed with natural hair videos. I stalked them daily in hopes that my hair could someday grow long. Yes, I’m unapologetically length obsessed.

What is the natural hair scene like on your campus?

On Spelman’s campus natural hair is no surprise. I mean naturals are literally everywhere. All textures, all lengths. This made my transition comforting, but it didn’t necessarily make it easy.  I got a lot of snide remarks, from both sexes.  My neighboring institutions (Morehouse and Clark Atlanta University ) are riddled with guys  and some guys I knew previously would just look, kind of like in awe.  I can understand it though, since I used to wear my hair pressed 24/7. Some say: “I love natural hair” (and then try to touch it like some science experiment lol). Others just don’t say anything, or simply stare.

Girls would either love it, hate it, or say nothing.  I got a few “When are you going to do your hair?” comments.  I’ve also received a lot of love for going natural too, though.  Many of my Spelman sisters rock their natural tresses and it is truly a beautiful thing.

Why did you decide to go natural?

I went natural originally to gain length.  But now, I just want healthy hair.  Plus, I love the versatility.  With my shrinkage, I can wear my hair past my shoulders or above my ears.  I love being able to shake things up and do my own thing. I also wanted to look less generic. I feel like such a blender when my hair is straight; I want to stand out! Every curly girl is different so the possibilities are always endless.

Growing out and appreciating my natural hair has changed the way I view myself; I now feel more in tune with who I really am.

SIDENOTE: I HATE the whole “permie vs. natural vs. texturized” war. We are all beautiful no matter how we choose to wear our hair. Its just hair!

It’s awesome Denia is at a school where it’s alot of other naturals. It makes it easier to go from relaxed to natural. I went natural when I was at Clark Atlanta and I barely saw any other girls besides the ladies that were loc’d or who had been natural all their life. Times have changed 🙂 Thanks Denia for sharing your story.