I recently read an article by Maya Allen on BYRDIE entitled ” 22 Corporate Women Share What Wearing their Natural Hair to Work Means” and I was captivated. The sheer title alone grabbed my attention. The experiences of these women felt similar to my own. Their stories were somehow also my story.
As a young girl, I looked forward to hair days with my mother. On Sundays, she would wash and braid my hair for school on Monday. My excitement for Sundays was always sky-high. The fancier the hairstyles, the better I felt. Hairstyles such as braids, ponytails, clips, bubbles, and ribbons were my normal as a child.
Getting my hair done on Sunday would set the tone for my week. I felt majestic, beautiful, and like royalty.
Something interesting happened from childhood to professional women. There was a shift in my delight of getting my hair adorned.
I felt I needed to fit a mold.
For me, that meant straight and black.
Every hairstyle I wore to work was black.
Straight, and without curls.
Whenever I was prompted by my hairdresser to try a different style, I felt uncomfortable. I remember saying to her “NO BRAIDS AND NO COLOR!”
My views have completely changed. The idea that professional hair is straight hair was a completely false narrative I had adopted. So this last year, I decided that I wanted to rock my natural hair in its fullness. Whenever I could not wear puffs, Bantu knots, or braid out, I decided to wear protective hairstyles that were more natural-appearing. After examining the disconnection between my hair and my professional appearance, I have found two points to be true:
- I realized that I wanted to be accepted by others, even if others could not understand my inner conflict.
I became too concerned about corporate/professional America accepting my big, curly, and colorfully loud hair yet, I had not accepted it myself. I did not need their acceptance. I must first accept me.
- For any young girl reading this- know that you are PERFECT. Your kinks, color, coils, clips, dread, and braids are all apart of you. What sets you apart is your most valuable asset.
- We can all do more to accept each other’s differences, complement each other’s beauty outside the workplace and within corporate America.
Professional Hair is YOUR hair!
Professional Hair is YOUR style!
Professional Hair is YOUR color!
SO I got my hair braided today and added a little color