I remember walking into the building in Downtown Columbus feeling a bit nervous. I had never been to this place before or an event like this one either. I decided to wear my hair in a new style, thinking it would make me look edgy and trendy. It was the first natural hair event I had ever attended so I wanted to fit in and be cool like the other women who I figured had been natural far longer than I had been. It was only a year ago that I decided to cut off 6 inches of hair and start fresh with completely unaltered relaxer free hair.
I was still trying to figure things out with my hair when I got the invitation for the Natural Hair Meet-up Day. It read,
Come gather with Naturalistas from Columbus and enjoy food, fun, live entertainment, giveaways, and hair tutorials! The first 50 people to register will get a swag bag full of product samples.
It was the hair tutorials that inspired me to spend four hours on a Saturday and pay $20 to attend since I really needed help with my hair.
When I walked through the doors of the loft, I immediately felt at home. The space was just big enough for the intimate gathering with a small stage at the front, a few vendor tables lined along the back wall, and round tables in the center of the room with white linens and comfortable chairs. Windows lined three walls of the room so sunlight poured into the space, illuminating every beautiful woman in the room.
A woman with a huge afro and big orange earrings greeted me at the door with, “Hello gorgeous. Welcome to the meet-up.” She took my name, handed me a swag bag, and told me to sit anywhere I liked. I found a table with two women, one was wearing a flat twist style with a bun, and the other had long wavy hair with blond tips that reach down the middle of her back. When I looked around the room, I saw so many women all with their own signature hairstyles and dressed to impress. The evening was such a delight. It was filled with networking, eclectic music, great conversations, impromptu photo ops, and the room smelled amazing since one of the vendors sold sugar body scrubs.
That event was the first time during my natural hair journey that I felt like I was not alone. There were so many other lovely women who took the same journey I did and they understood me. That night gave me the motivation to keep going.
I could not imagine never having the chance to attend another meet-up. Those meetings are more than just a great time; they are a light at the end of a tunnel for most naturals. They refresh and uplift us. Those meet-ups keep our tresses curly, our self-esteem strong, and our hearts encouraged.
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