My Crown of Glory is empowering because it reminds me every day that God made
me in His image because He loves me and teaches me how to love myself.
I’ve been natural for most of my life, not getting my first relaxer until I was in
9th grade. At first, my relaxed hair was long, bouncy, and seemingly healthy. Within
two years, constant chemical treatment and heat damage left me unable to retain
any length because my hair was constantly breaking off. During my senior year, my
mom convinced me to take a break from getting relaxers for about six months. I
wasn’t really making a conscience decision to transition to team natural, I just didn’t
know what else to do.
One day after trying to detangle my freshly washed hair and seeing more
and more hair fall out every time I ran a comb through it, I got frustrated, grabbed
a pair of scissors, and chopped off a huge chunk of hair without thinking about it.
The gravity of what I had just done hit me, but there was nothing left to do but keep
going. Once my “big chop” was complete, I had less than an inch of hair on my head
and a chance for a fresh start. I’ve been fully natural since July of 2011 and I’ve loved
every minute of it. It’s been fun watching my hair grow and experimenting with
styles and accessories. I love the versatility of my hair.
Cutting my hair off had a huge impact on my self-image. Having boy-short
hair made me feel extremely masculine. It took a while to get used to, especially
because I was used to hiding underneath bangs. I’m so happy that I’ve reached a
point in my life where I feel confident enough about my natural beauty to have short
hair and to go out without caking my face in makeup. Of course I have good days and
bad days, but at the end of the day, if you don’t love yourself, who else will?
Back home, everything in my pantry is organic, fat-free, sugar-free, and
sometimes taste-free. (Don’t tell my mom I said that.) The closest things to junk food
that we have are sesame sticks and coconut flakes. I appreciate my mom for this,
because eating healthy is important, but I love chips and cookies too. Being a college
student on a tight budget has always been my excuse for choosing pizza and burgers
over much healthier options. However, I’m getting better at making healthier
choices one day at a time. I also have a love-hate relationship with the gym. I don’t
particularly enjoy the working out on the exercise machines or feeling sweaty, but I
love the feeling that I get once I’m done. I guess I’m still learning to find a balance in
order to live a healthy lifestyle.
I’ve been natural for 20 months now, and my hair has a pretty kinky curl
pattern. My two favorite styles are updos and twist-out afros.
I honestly can’t wait for my hair to grow longer, but first and foremost, my dream is
for my hair to be healthy. My health dream is to find a fun activity that provides me
with good exercise, so that I’ll be motivated to work out more.
Dania is majoring in Biomedical Engineering.
Images by Zinhle Essamuah 2013 ©