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  • Writer's pictureSheena Johnson

2019: The Mane Event

New year; new me?

This is a question we all face after the ball drops and the confetti blasts. “What am I going to do that is radically different than what I’ve done before?” As we just hit 2019, I was one of billions to ask myself the very same question.

2018 was an incredible year of gains and losses. The 4th quarter’s focus was “finish strong” and I felt the burning urge to focus on myself, as a goal. We are bombarded with self care quotes and Pinterest boards about what to do to love ourselves. As I set out on this journey of self love, I dug deep to find something drastic that I needed to change about myself. What was something about me that caused me grief, anxiety or insecurity? I’d recently lost 45 lbs and was really loving my body but there was something that I hadn’t quite tapped into. It soon hit me, like a tons of bricks to the head. My hair. As a child my hair was big, thick and curly. Like many little black girls, almost a rite of passage, I got my 1st relaxer in the 3rd grade. It was long, thick and finally manageable. Fast forward through the years of various hairstyles, cuts and trends, I was introduced to weave, in the form of a waterfall ponytail in 8th grade and it was a whole new ball game. I could do whatever I wanted to the hair that grew out of my head and if I didn’t like it, I could correct it with weave. I had long hair (with the help of Urban Beauty 16in straight human hair) and short pixie cut whenever I was ready to switch. Weave was my best friend. As I grew older, my skills grew colder and I could make the perfect piece for whatever the occasion called for. It was MY hair. I always have a reason to fall back to my wigs. Gym hair, bad hair day, ugly grow out phase, special occasion, Tuesday. Whatever. It became a part of the routine. Like the icing on the cake. I started to realize that this was my security blanket. My safe place. My natural hair was safely tucked away while me and my wigs tackled whatever the wind blew at me. It was so much trouble to do anything with my real hair. I went back to 2nd grade Sheena, with the unruly, unmanageable hair. I wrestled with shaving it off again or going back to creamy crack. I decided against both and decided to try a product that a woman I work out with makes. After the 1st use, my hair was different. Few uses in and some tutorials later I had a mane that I wasn’t ashamed of. People constantly complimented my hair and I was growing more in love with what it was doing. Late December, I was planning a trip to NY for NYE and ran the gauntlet on what wig to take. I was annoyed. I finally decided on a 30” platinum blonde piece that did the job just fine. 2 days into my vacation I missed my boys dearly, and my real hair damn near as much. The challenge hit me. “What if I went an entire year without wearing extensions?” I nearly laughed out loud at the thought of exposing myself in such a way. Having to face the bad days, the gym days, the whatever the reason, just me and my hair.

I invite you to take this journey with me. I’m going to refrain from adding any hair to my head in the year 2019. Let’s spend the year learning what works best for YOUR hair. Being open to suggestions, speaking openly about your best practices, and your emotions along the way. With the help of a friend from Twitter, we’ll call this adventure #NaturalNineteen. If you are up for the challenge, post all your hair related pics, questions and frustrations under this hashtag and we can grow through this together!

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