There are hundreds of women going natural daily but that does not mean they have all the information or support necessary for the journey to stay positive and productive. One huge factor that many often forget for a successful natural hair journey is the support or understanding and supportive significant other. Going natural is more in-depth and quite different than just coloring your hair. It is a lifestyle change that alters your personal regimen. This journey affects your partner in more way than one so addressing this is kind of a big deal.
Not everyone has a partner who does not want to be included in the conversation on changing your aesthetic. Just check out a forum or blog and read some tearful stories of women having relationship problems because of simply wearing your natural hair. From reality TV stars to bloggers, blogs are filled with posts about women confessing the problems they are facing because of going natural. My husband could care less how I rock my hair but I do understand this is not a reality for everyone. So instead of writing it off I know I must address the problem because it is a real problem.
Often we just need to communicate with our partner about what we are doing so they can gain better insight and become that supporter we would prefer. So, here’s a list of some things you may want to share so they “get it” and not just look freaked out at some of our natural hair habits.
Silk or satin pillowcases are necessary
I cannot tell you how many times I have had to wrestle my satin pillowcase from my husband’s armpit. I had to explain this is my pillow and not his to just use at his leisure. We may also sleep with a bonnet, scarf, or wear our hair in a pineapple so our sleep routine does not ruin our hair for the following day. I wore a scarf to bed when relaxed too so this should not be that much of a surprise to most, but it needs to be said regardless.
Wash day is an event
Wash day is essential to all women, but to naturals it can be a long process, especially if you have longer detangling sessions. Wash day also entails overnight to pre-poo or deep condition, so many of us schedule our lives around it. That may need to be expressed to your boo who may not realize just how much this can affect the plans. There may be a lack of hot water after we are out of the shower or it may end up looking like a crime scene with conditioner, shed hairs, or stained tubs from rinses. This is just a part of the process.
Hating my hair is hating me
This may cause some anger directed at me but our bodies and hair are a part of us. Telling us you hate our hair is not accepting us for who we are. Whether we rock free form locs or loose colored curls, love is deeper than a hairstyle. If you do have an issue with my hair, then there are constructive ways to present that concern and discuss the root of the problem.
I do not need your approval
This ties into the previous point because even if we cannot come to terms with the presentation of my hair, it will be my decision. This is my hair on my head and although I want to be attractive to you, it is still my decision. We are grown women and how we choose to dress and rock our hair is a personal statement that reflects our mood, personality, and oftentimes the weather.
Groceries are for the kitchen and bathroom
Many naturals are embracing natural methods and ingredients to care for their tresses. We are turning into DIY specialists that require massive amounts of oils, herbs, and fruits. Do not be alarmed if you see her slathering mayo, avocado, and/or aloe vera gel on her head. It is now her norm and just her way of caring for her tresses. I cannot tell you how many times my husband has smelled coffee in the bathroom because I was doing a coffee rinse. It is what it is.
Going natural does not mean I am trying to be political
This point may be dying out, but there are still women being called Angela Davis or a tree hugger for going natural. We are all individuals and should be treated as such without over-generalized labels that can be offensive to some. Yes, there are many naturals who are vegan or vegetarian, but do not assume we all are. For some, natural hair is a trend and just another hairstyle, so do not assume to know why a woman is natural any more than you would assume why a woman is relaxed. We are much deeper than that!
Our hair grows up and out
Relaxed hair is not natural hair, so expecting the same results in growth is unfair and may end up being disheartening. If your significant other is used to straight hair laying on your shoulders it may take a while for them to understand that natural hair does not grow or lay like that. It is sometimes hard for women to accept this too, especially with shrinkage. Some embrace it while others fight with it but if you are confused you can only imagine your mate may be as well.
If you want understanding on your journey then give them the tools to do so. How did you help you partner transition to your transition?