I've always found it curious and a little unsettling when someone feels a need to comment or applaud me for having natural hair. Or more and more, when non black people used to call me "exotic," now I get that constantly from black people.
The implication being that I'm some sort of unicorn or revolutionary for looking the way I looked when I was born. I was born a little brown skinned woman with kinky hair. That's actually normal....
It's the trying to reverse that process that is abnormal. It's not the reversal (the perms, weaves, extensions that are wrong), to the contrary, I buy hair and add it in for fun or variety, just cause I want to...
But here's the difference, I don't wear my "bought hair" because I think something is wrong with my own hair. Thats the difference. When we stop treating natural hair as some unusual act, then it won't be anymore.
I believe the need to explain it, or name it crazy names like "the big chop" has to do with an inherent sense of shame around the natural condition of the kinky head of hair we were born with.
But I wasn't raised with that...here's what I was raised with: my great grandmother Celia saying
"What the hell we look like sitting up in some lady's hair salon every week spending grocery money on getting some straight hair when we on food stamps?
I'm giving my baby some "change" to get your school uniform and pay for your books at that private school.
You need a book, not a damn jheri curl or cream of nature.
Your hair fine just like it is...please."