I produced a Youtube video a few years back about natural hair and I used the term “going natural”. At that time, this was the only term I knew to use as I had seen tons of natural sistas use it. There was a beautiful sista who politely posted a comment under the video about how she appreciated my video, but she wanted to correct me when I used the words “going natural”. She stated that women who decide to get rid of the relaxer were not going anywhere; instead, they were returning to who they were originally. Immediately, I responded to the sista and thanked her for enlightening me and changing my entire outlook on the natural hair process.
The reality is that you go to other places, but you return home. If you moved to a different city and lived there for a few years, but decided to move back home, you would more than likely say that you are “returning home”. Natural hair is the root (pun intended) of who you are. If you never did anything to your hair, it would grow out in its natural form so your natural hair is not “going” anywhere unless you alter it. When sistas decide to put a relaxer in their hair, they are the individuals who are “going” to a foreign place because it is not their native land (i.e. – their naturally growing hair).
I know some people may say that terms do not matter and they are not a big deal, but there is power in words. Think about this, when some of you first decided to return to your natural roots, there were people who aggressively shouted, “YOU ARE GOING NATURAL”? They shouted this as if you were about to go to a mythical foreign place and they could not understand why you would do such a thing. Take those same people who shouted those words and have them substitute the words, “SO YOU ARE RETURNING TO THE WAY YOUR HAIR NATURALLY GROWS”? If someone shouted the latter, they would sound like a fool because they would be criticizing you for appreciating the way your hair naturally grows. This is a huge reason for why I believe the terms you choose to use are very important.
In conclusion, I encourage you to own your complete identity and to never allow anyone else to make you feel that you are wrong for “returning” to the person you are naturally. For many years, our sistas have been socialized to believe that the foreign land, “relaxed hair”, is who they are supposed to be and they should be ashamed and not identify with their native land, “natural hair”. So are you “going” or “returning”?