by Portia of huneybflyy.com
When Tashay Manning decided to embrace her natural hair over 2 years ago, she didn’t expect her decision to affect the way her co-workers treated her. Manning’s motivation for wanting to go relaxer-free began when one of her daughters was admiring her bone straight relaxed hair.
“She said that she wanted her hair to look like mine. My four girls are natural and at that moment, I felt like a big hypocrite trying to get my girls to love their natural hair when I wasn’t even embracing mine,” said Manning.
Manning decided that the best way for her to go natural was to do the big chop. However, she admits to immediately wearing wigs as a protective style to try and achieve some length and later to avoid having to style her hair. She also admitted that she was nervous about revealing her natural hair to the public. She wanted to make sure that she knew how to care for her hair and how to style it before a big reveal. Manning was even more nervous to reveal her natural hair at work.
“I can honestly say that I was most nervous about revealing my natural hair to my co-workers. I am one of the few African Americans on my job, so I didn’t know what to expect, especially since I was responsible for getting my co-workers used to my relaxed hair and perfectly curled wig. I had a hunch that they weren’t ready for my 4b hair and I was right!” Manning said.
She realized after her first day showcasing her natural hair at work that her hair had suddenly became the elephant in the room. Many of her co-workers didn’t acknowledge her hair at all. Most of her co-workers ignored her and avoided speaking to her or making eye contact with her for at least 3 weeks. These were people that she had been friendly with on a daily basis for years.
Their reactions weren’t all bad. Some actually complimented her new look and told her how much younger she looked without the wig. Others, just quickly glanced at her as if her hair was a freak of nature.
“Just last week we were lunch buddies and now I’m an outcast!” she said.
Fortunately, her co-worker’s reactions didn’t discourage her from her journey. She realized that it was time for her to stop trying to blend in and embrace how God made her. For Manning, it was now or never.
“I realized that fairy tale I had of everyone in the work place raving about my natural hair was not reality, so I figured people would just have to get over it because I was done pretending that my hair looked like theirs,” said Manning.
If this naturalista didn’t receive a single compliment from her co-workers, it wouldn’t matter. Manning has plenty of support from her family and friends, her husband being her biggest fan. He was proud of her when she kicked her creamy crack habit and he doesn’t care if her hair is down to her ankles or one inch off of her scalp, he just wants her to be her natural self. Manning’s daughters are also equally supportive and they admire the natural hair styles that she creates.
As for her co-workers, she doesn’t have any hard feelings. However, she does have an increased awareness that deciding to be natural is a bold movement. She believes that she is changing the dynamics of her office and she’s forcing people to look at the real Tashay Manning.
“My hair does not change my professionalism or productivity. Many of my co-workers that ignored and avoided me, have come around because I’m still the same person. I guess they realized that hair is hair, it doesn’t make a person,” she said.
Manning’s best piece of advice for women who may be experiencing the same negativity is to let the stares and ignorance roll of your back. If you embrace your hair first and are confident, then small minded co-workers will feel silly for having any issues with your hair.
Have any of you experienced a similar reaction in your own place of work? Did anyone stop speaking to you when you revealed your natural hair? Are you experiencing this now?
Portia is a wife and mother who enjoys making things and people look pretty! As a graduate of Rowan University, Portia has an insatiable craving for natural hair, beauty, and fashion, but she also enjoys traveling and home decor. If you’d like to know more about her, visit her blog at huneybflyy.com