Natural in my mind refers to the original state of something...natural black hair makes me think of, un-processed, un-colored, textured and not altered in any way (like a 60's afro). So food, hair, and bodies (for the folks who alter themselves through plastic surgery) are what should stay close to the original, pure state of being to be considered: NATURAL.
I've had natural hair (no chemical relaxer) for over ten years...I've lost count on the exact time frame. I love my natural hair! In 2008 after spending two years in Jersey, my hair was in bad shape. I did not know how to care for natural hair in the harsh winter breeze. I cut it off to about 2-3 inches. It grew back and last year (2012) I got "inspired" and decided to cut it off AGAIN....I went from hair past my shoulders in it's wavy state (stretched out twists) to a semi mini fro...to a mini fro then to a fade...yes a fade... I loved my fade and finally saw the shape of my head!
Long natural - 2012
Long natural - stretched out twists
Semi - mini fro
Now I'm ready to start growing my hair back. I miss it...so I'm going from a fade to however long it can grow. I'm a little trepidatious about the in-between phases. When I went natural for the first time, I did not do the "big chop" so many others talk about. I waited until I felt comfortable with the amount of new growth then I cut it off. I had about 4-6 inches of new growth. This growing process/starting from scratch feeling is new to me and I'm so excited!