Love your afro self!
From childhood, growing up seeing magazines, TV shows, entertainment and the like, hair was always a problem for me. Questions like ‘why isn’t my hair long enough?’ ‘Why doesn’t my hair look like hers?’ Memories, sitting on the floor while my mother put the relaxer in my hair, as I was told my hair is too ‘hard’, made me wonder – why?
Even with the relaxer, my hair always looked fried and I was embarrassed. The girls at school would always have long straight relaxed hair or beautiful thick afro hair. I would always ‘hide’ my hair in braids (Ghana braids, single plaits – you know name it!). That was just in secondary school, when I got to college, my hair would grow and break at the same time, even though I left a suitable amount of time for the next touch up. I did all that was necessary, in terms of hair care, conditioning, protein treatment, etc, to no avail. I stopped relaxing and moved onto texturising, which was rather short lived!
But all changed when I started university, I was recommended by my hairdresser to try a curly perm, yes those wet Jheri curls, the dreaded hairstyle of the 80s! I was hesitant at first but I gave it a try. The results – increased growth!
My hair was growing, it was soft and maintenance was low, making it easier for me to spend less time on my hair in the morning and getting to lectures on time!
However, the euphoria I experienced was short lived, I guess my hair grew too comfortable and as a result my hair started thinning and shedding like crazy, despite good upkeep.
Mind you, I had friends who recommended me to go natural, I never thought of it as an option. The opinions of natural textured Nigerian hair made me feel insecure, and afraid of my own hair to be honest. But, I began to delve into reading and looking at black hair documentaries on YouTube and seeing the beautiful textures of Afro hair. Watching natural hair vloggers on their journey increased my curiosity and I wanted to know more.
As I was transitioning, I thought I would have 4a type hair but I came to the realisation I didn’t – I had the unique hair ‘type’, 4c. I say unique for a number of reasons…
This ‘type’ as people say isn’t particularly praised in society. Often referred to as unkempt, ‘nappy’, kinky, tough, hard; the list goes on. But I began to accept myself and wanted to do this for me. Bad enough, I had my own fair share of insecurities as a young girl and still as a young woman, but what I have learned is the best love is self love, once you love yourself, everyone else will.
Until this day, I am still on this hair journey, 11 months post relaxer and I am growing to love my hair, with its shrinkage issues, it is part of who I am – an African, it is how the Almighty made me. I am not meant to be a replica of what society wants me to be, I am ME and there isn’t another ME, there is only one ME.
So join me on my journey to natural hair and I hope you will enjoy it too. You will learn to love and accept yourself for who you are, as God made you to be.
To be continued…