Societal pressure and my natural hair

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Chanté Petersen recently shared a column on transitioning into natural hair. One of our reader's responded, sharing her story of how she dealt with her damaged hair:

"I do not remember when my mother started relaxing my hair, but I think I was probably four or five. I wore chemically treated hair until about the age of 12. At 13, I had my hair short but would still chemically change it by using s-curl.

At 15, I started with my first attempt at natural hair by cutting the damaged hair and starting over. I was making progress with my afro, but I felt societal pressure to change my hair.

I distinctly remember a girl in my netball team telling me that I had nappy hair, it made me feel so bad about myself and of my hair that at 17, I once again chemically treated my hair.

Over the course of my life I have done it all from s-curl to weaves and everything in between. At 19, my hair was a mess as it was dry, had split ends and was severely uneven. It was then that I decided to embrace my natural crown and decided to cut the mess of my head for a clean start.

My transition was done, when I reached a place where I realised that it was in my best interest to embrace the hair that grows out of my head. Relaxing is painful as it burns my scalp and my history has shown that it always ends up in a mess beyond repair.

I may be young but I feel that my hair struggle is a universal story among black women. Society teaches us to hate the hair that grows out of our heads. I appreciate the fact that braids, dreadlocks, weaves and even relaxers give us the opportunity to change our look and express ourselves through hair, however, I feel that it must be done for the right reasons.

I once heard the statement: "At any given time a black woman's hair is a political statement." My statement is that I am young, black and beautiful and my natural hair is more than enough!"

More on natural hair:

How to prevent blonde hair from fading in winter

Transitioning to natural hair can seem incredibly daunting

What it’s like to have real human hair extensions

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