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Last night I had drinks with some friends to celebrate a dear friend’s birthday. While there, I had the pleasure of meeting a young lady that was six months POST Big Chop. She was sporting short and sassy comb coils and was wearing them very well. As we discussed all things natural hair, from corporate America to self esteem, she complimented me on my hair. I was genuinely flattered. You see, I love receiving compliments on my hair, but even more than that, I love to give them. I needed her to know that I loved her hair as well. It was short, and funky, and exuded a certain amount of sexiness. Despite the fact that it has been 10 years since my last relaxer, I am always excited and eager to meet a newly natural sistah. I love telling THEM how much I love THEIR hair. When I first decided to stop relaxing my hair, in 2001, I felt like I was the only person in the world taking that journey. On the rare occasion that I would meet a sistah with natural hair, hers always seemed to be longer, thicker, shinier, more specifically, cuter than my own. Giving compliments eventually became easy because what I saw in the mirror, was never as pretty as what I saw on someone else. My hair always appeared to be too short, to have too much shrinkage, to never want to hold a style longer than 3 days. The idea of wearing frizz free 2 strand twist longer than a week was foreign to me. My best friend, a natural hair wearer herself, and therefore the closest thing I had to an example, told me about this alleged “shake and go” hairstyle. Simply put, you wash and or condition, lightly towel dry, shake and go! Beautiful, loose and defined curls were her end results, a severe headache and dizziness was mine. Her hair could do something my hair couldn’t. Insert compliment. As the years went on, I would meet more and more women with natural dos and the compliments became less about who wore a style best and more about recognizing the courage it sometimes takes to wear a natural style in the first place. From the post office to the grocery store, and all points in between, I can’t go a day without spotting a sistah with a chemical free hairstyle.  To all of them I say, I LOVE YOUR HAIR. After 10 years of being natural, I’ve become so comfortable with my reflection,  that I can’t be anything but comfortable with yours.


“When I look at you, I see myself. If my eyes are unable to see you as my sister, it is because my own vision is blurred. And if that be so, then it is I who need you either because I do not understand who you are, my sister, or because I need you to help me understand who I am. ” Lillian P. Benbow

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