This letter, written by Alesha Aris, is special because it captures a moment that many of us share — the moment when we take the step to love and celebrate our full selves. Whether it is finally accepting our own hair or bodies or our little quirks, the moment of self acceptance is a powerful one. Thank you Alesha for taking up your pen and sharing your story with us!
Dear Black Girl,
It took me eleven years to meet my hair. I spent eleven years agreeing that relaxers and perms were necessary to tame my black hair. That chemicals made it more beautiful, easier to touch and maintain.
And I, only a child, obliged the consensus with unwavering agreement, that it was too dry, too coarse, too hard to control, because it rebelliously snapped at fine teeth combs.
I’d routinely subject it to a “harmless“ process that’d often enough result in burns on my scalp, weakened, over-processed strands, so much so that breakage became the norm, but worse of all it never occurred to me to break away. That I, now a grown woman, kept going back. In retrospect, it sounds as if I was blindly punishing my hair for being itself.
Until one fine day, I fell in love. I fell in love with someone else’s hair. I quietly admired the fluff in her coils, her weightless puff, oh how it announced its arrival just as she’d taught it. That it has its place to be proud and loved, dawning her head like a queen. Baring it all, unwavering and untouched, another black woman taught me that my natural hair was more beautiful–easier to touch and maintain.
After months of deliberation between myself and the past, I took the scissors into my hand, cutting and snipping to only two inches above my scalp. Then I took a long hard look, as if I’d been holding my breath for eleven years. I finally took the chance to meet my hair.
With love and courage,
Alesha Aris is a 24 years old Marketing Manager from Kingston, Jamaica.