Tristan Brooks shares her journey to celebrating her natural hair!
When I was first asked to share mine and my son’s hair journeys, I was so excited. I find so much joy in talking about our hair and the significance of taking proper care of it. I can remember when I was a little girl, and my mother would grease my scalp and then put it in a protective style. Those styles would change from plats to twists, to straightened, to braids. Their purpose was to seal in and protect the moisture in my hair, keep it healthy while growing, and of course, look cute. I have so many fond memories of my mom doing my hair and looking through hair magazines and picking the style I’d want next and just all the love that went into caring for my hair. I wore my hair natural up until I was in middle school; that was when I started getting relaxers. That’s how I saw most of the other girls wearing their hair, so that’s what I wanted. I remember wanting my hair to be straight because that’s what I saw represented in shows, movies and at school; because it was portrayed as “easier” to care for. In high school, those feelings became even more prominent. And my views of my hair became more skewed. That was the time where I started to really over process my hair, constantly trying to change or hide the natural texture of it. This was a constant cycle I entered that lasted several years. Looking back on it now, I recognize that I wanted my hair to blend in and I didn’t want it to stand out. I didn’t believe my hair was worthy of love because it wasn’t what I saw portrayed as the standard for beauty. It wasn’t until I was 27 when I chopped all my over-processed hair off, that I really began the journey of loving & embracing my hair again. I grew my natural hair out for 4 years and tried so many styles and learned so much about the beauty and versatility of it. I learned to embrace every beautifully unique kinky & curly hair on my head and became PROUD of it. Then about 3 ½ years ago, I decided to go a step further and get locs. Having locs has been both incredibly empowering and liberating because I’m just letting my hair do what it wants to do.
Now that I have two boys who are 4 & 6, their hair journey has been intertwined with mine. Since the day they were born, I’ve been intentional about the way I talk to them about their hair and the way that I care for it. My oldest has very thick hair like mine and my youngest has semi-thick curly hair. I moisturize and detangle their hair often and tell them how beautiful curls & kinks are and how so much love goes into caring for it. I want them to know how worthy of love their hair is and to be proud of it.
by Tristan Brooks