I went natural and my life changed. Kind of. Technically speaking I had actually been natural longer than I had been relaxed, but everything was different. Some things I could anticipate and others I had no clue about. Here are five things that happened when I went natural that I didn’t expect:

1. I did not miss my hair.

I didn’t miss my length. In fact, I felt incredibly free. I am not sure if this attitude sparked my interest in going natural, or it came about because I was natural. This is a bit of a chicken or the egg moment. Whatever the order, or the impetus, the fact remained that I actually did not miss my hair length. It was shorter than I expected, but by week 2 I was fine.

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2. People expected me to know a lot about natural hair. And I mean a lot.

I should be more specific when I say, “people.” I mean all the people. People at school, people at home, eventually people at work, people on the street. One of my good friends once told me that marriage is the only thing that they give you a certificate for before you get the experience. I would like to add natural hair to the list. I enjoy having answers to questions, and I also had a lifelong interest in follicular facts. So, I actually enjoyed answering questions. Where I didn’t have answers I made tons of referrals to books, stylists and YouTubers.

3. I found out that my hair was fine, and thick and somewhat fine, tightly coiled and loosely coiled – all at once.

I kind of thought my hair would have this miraculous thickening transformation by going natural. It did not. It was a bit fuller, but it was not nearly as full as I expected. Then, I realized that my hair was not one thickness, texture or density. Some strands were really thick. Most were very fine. And then I had another section that was fine, shiny and had looser curl definition. All of that, on one head. #INeverEspededIt

4. I really noticed my face.

In the beginning I had so much face and so little hair. I saw everything with new eyes. Every feature in its glory and with its flaws. They were there, looking at me. My features were waiting for me to acknowledge them. Not in the way you acknowledge a stranger on the elevator, but in the way the Baganda and the Yoruba genuflect to greet elders. With respect. So, I did, because they deserve…

natural-hair-stories-chantal-kamya-the-maria-antoinette

5. I learned a new language that I can’t add to my LinkedIn page or my resume.

TWA, LOC method, pineappling, sealing, BSL, APL. After years of intense YouTube, blog and book curriculum, I got an invisible degree in the language of hair (with honors). It is a linguistic bridge between natural hair brethren. My only hope is that I can make good use of this degree in Hair Lexicon. It cost me a lot of time and data. In this moment, as I’m writing this I am seriously considering, at least jokingly, mentioning it when someone asks me how many languages I speak.

 

Thank you for reading! To keep up with my writing follow me on instagram at instagram.com/chantalkamya and medium at medium.com/@ckamya 🙂

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Chantal Kamya

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Chantal is a project manager by day, writer/graphic designer by night, and a former business school career coach and career development professor. Through her writing, one-on-one coaching and group classes she strives to give practical, thoughtful and inspiring tips/ideas on communication and personal branding, to encourage purpose-driven women to achieve their professional and personal goals. She is the founder of leonandlucie.com, a website with everyday products with African-inspired designs. She shares thoughts on life as a Congolese-Ugandan American, with mild obsessions with hair/beauty, family, healthy living, good food and African clothes at medium.com/@ckamya and instagram.com/chantalkamya.
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