February 22, 2019

I decided to go natural a little over two years ago.

It was an impulse decision on my part. I wanted to try something new—at that point, I’d had my hair chemically straightened for nearly 20 years.

After having transitioned my hair for several months, on my 28th birthday, I decided to do the big chop and cut off all my relaxed ends—which forced me to quickly learn how to work with my hair in its completely natural state.

This is when things got a little tricky.

My hair had never been that short before, plus managing textured hair was a completely different ball game.

Though I was excited to try something new, my insecurity overpowered that feeling. Wash Day—the day I dedicated to detangling, deep conditioning, and styling my hair—became a dreaded experience. The process could take anywhere from 45 minutes to nearly two hours, and I felt lost exploring a whole new world of products, styling techniques, and lingo. Plus: I just didn’t feel comfortable with my new look.

I realized I had been hiding behind my hair all these years and letting the compliments of my chemically-straightened hair define what made me beautiful.

Stepping out of my comfort zone made me understand that it was what was on the inside that needed fixing—not my hair. So I started to embrace each Wash Day as a time for soul searching.

Stepping out of my comfort zone made me understand that it was what was on the inside that needed fixing—not my hair.
Tweet

There was a lot to think about as I detangled and twisted my hair—at the time, I was navigating a new job, I was a year into a new relationship, and I had just ended a long friendship. I was also trying to figure out how I could make an impact in my life and that of others. I was undergoing so much change and growth beyond my appearance that Wash Day turned into another aspect of my journey to self-love.

Today, I'm glad I got on the natural hair train. Every day is, of course, different—sometimes I'm ready to slap some relaxer on and call it a day, but it's been nice to see my hair really flourish.

Going natural is definitely a journey, and it's one I'm still on. But I realize my Wash Day journey parallels my practice of self-care as a whole: It doesn’t always start off easily and can be difficult to manage. It can bring up insecurities, doubts, fears, and emotions that I didn’t know were in me to begin with. But eventually, I'll always see the benefit in taking my time and being patient with myself and the journey.

Wherever you are in your own journey, ultimately, you’ll start to find solace in the process and be proud of yourself for really focusing on your wellbeing. It may not be smooth sailing each time, but the simple fact that I didn’t give up and am now in a better space then where I began is so satisfying. I’m still learning about my hair—and myself—but I wouldn’t trade the road it’s taken me down for anything.

I’m still learning about my hair—and myself—but I wouldn’t trade the road it’s taken me down for anything.
Tweet

What started out as something I dreaded became something that helps bring me comfort. I’ve learned that the coils, curls, and kinks on my head should be cherished and handled with love and care—just like me.

The Wash Day stress, and/or solace, is something so many of us feel. That's why I worked with Shine to write and record a very special Wash Day meditation for those of us who can relate. It's free in the Shine App—check it out and cue it up for your next Wash Day and self-care session!

Here's a sneak peek:


Read next: How I Automated My Self-Care Practice

Tweet