What’s your name and what city are you from?
Alisia Young. I’m from Pickering, Ontario.
Why did you decide to go Natural?
I decided to go natural because I felt I was losing my connection to myself and my roots. I was also very tired of trying to fit the mold of Eurocentric beauty ideals – nothing is wrong with the texture of hair leaving my scalp, so why would I keep implying that by drastically trying to change [let alone damage] what is naturally me? — that was a question I asked myself for years. Most of all, I wanted to begin a journey of self-acceptance and learning about how to care for my hair. My hair was permed since I was a child, then I texturized it from the ages of 16 to 18.
Why have you decided to BIG CHOP your hair?
Mainly, I wanted to live my life without chemicals, and self-sufficiently. I also felt that it was possible due to the numerous natural hair tutorials released on YouTube by awesome hair gurus. I feel that my hair is also a statement for my own self-acceptance, and as learning takes time, what better a time then now? I did the Big Chop February 29th, 2008, and since then I have started locs [May 9th,2012]. I am so happy with my decision, especially because of the struggles and judgments I’ve overcome, in addition to the massive support I have received. I will never go back to the chemical lifestyle.
Do you feel different wearing your hair short and what has been the response around you?
I felt different and uncomfortable, but at some level, I felt liberated. At first I received questions such as – do you have cancer? are you a lesbian? and some people thought I was a male. My initial response was that I was offended, but overtime, I viewed those misunderstandings as teaching opportunities – rather than be upset with people for their ignorance, I learned to be compassionate and understanding of their perspective, but also let them know that how they express their viewpoints can be hurtful. Now, my hair is a bit longer, but not yet past shoulder length, so I still consider it to be short. More often I receive questions from other women who would like to go natural, and many people asking if they can touch my hair
What advice would you give to other women who are contemplating going natural?
Really ask yourself why you are making this decision: are you doing it for attention, or is there a personal calling within you to take that step? Also, be ready to accept that not everybody is going to be happy with your decision – not everyone is going to be supportive. However, on a positive note, if you are making this decision mainly for yourself, lack of support will not hinder you from continuing on with your decision, and feeling good about it.
The awesome thing about 2012/2013 is that there is so much support in the forms of YouTube, online forums, and informational books. Knowledge is power, and by going natural, you are helping your mind, body, and spirit to grow and flourish.
Happy New Year!