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No matter how far along I get in life, I'll always refer to myself as "That chick that grew up poor in the drug-filled streets of Port Arthur, Texas." Always a bad ass!

Right now, I'm going through a top-down transformation. I'm starting with my hair - taking it from processed to natural; and so far I'm loving it. Get updates on my process on newtonatural.com.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

What am I going to do with this hair?

I am done with the days when I refuse to work out because I'm afraid to ruin my hair. I am also done with the days that I ease my hair maintenance saga by allowing a beautician to braid my hair so tight that I have back-to-back migraines for weeks (and half of my hair falls out when I un-braid it). I have enough migraines as it is. I just can't go back to days in bed filled with painful headaches. What kind of life is that?

I am an active black woman with processed hair and it's becoming a serious burden because I sweat it out everyday when I'm walking, running, and playing tennis. Then, I have to wash and condition it at least every other day to keep it clean and smelling good. And with a perm, it seems like after you've washed your hair about four times, it just begins to return back to its pre-processed state. It costs me $80 a month for the beautician and 3 hours of time. That's all I have to give. What do I do?

One answer just rolls out of some people's mouths: "Go natural."

For a black woman, going natural means discontinuing the process of chemically straightening the hair. Perming your hair is a really awful process anyway . Those chemicals could eat through cement, but we put them in our hair because we don't want to be seen with a kinky, nappy, uncontrollable mess on our heads. I know I don't.

And if the truth be told, I'd LOVE to go natural! No, really I would. I have this vision of waking up in the morning and in a few quick steps being done with this thick mane.

But I work in an industry, in a geographic region, in a facility where the expectation is that you will come in each day looking. . well, like everyone else. I think they would be OK if I came in one day with a full afro. I'm sure I'll hear, "Anasthia, you look so exotic." That's what "people" say when you test the boundaries of generally accepted standards of beauty by doing something a little different.

But I know I will get some negative feedback on coming in to the office with hair that's transitioning from processed to natural. It just doesn't happen overnight.

You think the Pentagon has rigid rules on how Black women should keep their hair? The un-spoken rules that prevail for a woman like me who is not only marketing an organization, but also marketing herself, are far more stringent. And not walking the line can be down right un-forgivable as far as your career is concerned. Yes, sad. But true.

I'm not sure what to do.

Well, for now, I'm going to continue working really hard to keep my hair looking good while I decide a long-term plan, but if you want to reply with some ideas, give me a shout. I'm at a crossroads, and am willing to listen.