I’ve worked in television broadcast for over 25 years. For 10-years, I was in front of the camera. The job required a strict dress code and an expected “look.” I had to wear the right outfits, make sure my nails and makeup were impeccable, and my hair was meticulously styled. I sat in my hairdresser’s chair every six weeks, religiously, as she touched me up because I just knew my viewers were not ready for an anchor or reporter with “new growth.” The powers that be were not having any talk of natural hair. And I obliged. This is the profession I chose. I wanted the anchor chair, and that came with certain rules. So, I worked hard to be TV-ready all the time. Day, after day, after day for years.
And it was killing me.
I felt like I was losing myself. I conformed to the “look” that my work expected; a look I was outgrowing. While I loved being a journalist, I realized my job was coming at a cost. It got to a point where even on the weekends or on my days off, I could not leave the house without applying some kind of makeup. I had no sense of my natural beauty, and that fostered some insecurities I didn’t realize I had!
I won’t put all the blame on my job. I’ve been relaxing my hair since I was 15 years old. Being acutely aware of my appearance was ingrained in my personality. I didn’t realize how far I had drifted from my natural features until I began working for myself (mostly from a home office) and no longer felt tied to cosmetics and chemicals and corporate attire. I’ve never been happier.
When I stopped wearing makeup every day and started my natural hair journey, my life changed. I found a sense of confidence and empowerment I did not expect. I could look like Liz, and no boss, society, or even my insecurities could hold me back. I embraced the skin I was in, literally! I was free to be beautiful on my terms! I began wearing bright, colorful, unique headwraps, and that turned into a fun hobby. I purchased clothes I liked; that were comfortable to live in and work in, not clothes I “had” to wear for the camera. I found tinted moisturizers that accentuated my skin’s natural contours and highlights, and natural lip colors that brightened my features instead of overpowering them.
I still love getting my brows done and appreciate a good mani-pedi (let’s not got crazy!). Self-care and self-love are not mutually exclusive. But if I choose to go without nail color, I’m good.
I am close to going completely natural with my hair. I am excited about the transition and proud that I am taking this step. It’s an important way to reclaim my time (Shout out to Auntie Max)! It reflects a change in mindset that is long overdue—cutting out that that relaxer will be like shedding any and everything that held me back. It will be a renewal, a statement of individuality, and freedom.
My husband is my biggest supporter. Admittedly, he would say for years, “I don’t know why you wear makeup, you are beautiful without it!” He always preferred me with a “clean face.” Now that I have embraced my natural, he is thrilled! That kind of encouragement and love is invaluable. He’s even gifted me with a couple of headwraps!
You better believe I am stocking up on gorgeous wraps, headbands, and organic hair products because I am about to pamper my natural and wear it with pride! Stay tuned for the big chop!
Lord knows, a new beginning is something we will all need when we come out of this quarantine.