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  • Writer's pictureK. Eldridge

A Wife's Natural Journey

Updated: Feb 7, 2019

For over twelve years I have watched the struggle my wife has endured with her hair. It's been a long distance run, and I don't know anyone who has been more committed than she. I recall one day meeting her at a salon. I sat patiently and watched her getting braids. She had a lot of hair, and I wondered, ignorantly, why would she put braids in when her hair was already long. This was one of the first real lessons received in Black Women’s hair. It dawned on me that she needed a break! The everyday getting up hours early, trying to figure out what to do with her hair had taken its toll.

One day after years of frustration with her hair, she decided to go natural. I recall her hiding herself in the restroom for hours, watching YouTube videos, researching endlessly to see what the journey was going to be like. Days later, she went out and brought loads of product that seem to takeover the bathroom counter; she was determined - a hair diet of sort - the old mentality of hair maintenance was getting ready to die hard, and that it did.

Weeks went by, and it seemed like she spent even more time in the mirror twisting, combing, bushing, you name it. On occasion, she'd summon me to the bathroom to show me the progress. "See where the straight part ends and the curly part starts?", she'd say. I would nod. "That's the perm ends and the natural begins.", she said. I celebrated her commitment and dedication, but noticed that she was much more in debt to this new way.

Often, I would see her in the mirror pulling her hair down her back looking over her shoulder to see the progress. She was happy with the results, but still frustrated. The next challenge was finding an easier way to style it, negotiating the unique texture she became reacquainted with. One day, I witnessed a near breakdown when she came to me and said she was considering perming her hair. "What are you talking about?!" I almost came unglued myself, thinking of the long nights, weekends she spent watching Chopped and a host of home renovation shows, sometime feeling neglected - in fourth place after God, the kids, and The Natural. "I wish you would cut your hair...I'm leaving!" That was my posture, and I half heartedly meant it.

Kim's natural hair journey has been hard work. Her hair is healthy, and while she hasn't fully realized the promise-land she hoped for, she is content. From a man's perspective, occasionally looking into the bathroom as she creates styles and experiment with new products, I don't think she going back. To be honest, I think the journey has been a way for her to connect with herself, to remain in touch with her individually. A commitment to herself worth cultivating. In recent months, she has been toying with the idea of getting braids. When she told me I smiled, because after all these five or so years, she really needs the break.

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