Ok. So confession time.
I’ve always admired natural hair and when I was in secondary school I couldn’t wait to get to the university and keep mine. Note, this was before the ‘nappy‘ craze. I especially loved the thought of dreadlocks. But just the thought of it gave my mom palpitations lol.
When my hair starting growing, it became so thick and hard to manage and my hairdresser was the first to coerce me into getting my hair relaxed (the pain during plaiting didn’t help too lol).
I soon realized that relaxing was no paradise though. My scalp got burnt every time I relaxed, like every time. I was told to change products, change hairdressers, and just try the next. No one ever said, “Just stop“. My natural hair is very thick and kinky and I have a super dry and fragile scalp. It also grows like it’s been fertilized or something. So relaxing always took longer than was recommended and always required more pulling than was needed.
Since synthetics and weaves were not really my thing, I was left stranded.
I finally decided to shave it off after a few years. But I guess I hadn’t really thought about how I was going to keep my hair. Truth is, I was ready to learn. I went on the internet and read up on recipes and homemade methods and stuff. And on its good days, it was beautiful but the constant singsong of “You’re looking unkempt”, “Just wash with a relaxer” “Use a texturizer” got to me though. After sporting a twists look which I really liked but which horrified the neighbors, my mom finally convinced to do a ‘curly perm’ and ‘soften my hair’.
It completely changed my hair but since the first two days were cool, I didn’t want to panic. After a few days though my hair just couldn’t hold the moisture, became dry and started falling out. My whole scalp started itching and peeling off. I was appalled. Using gels and creams didn’t help. Yet to her, “You look good”.
Is that really the price to pay??? It’s way too high, methinks.
Did I learn? Oh no. I cut my hair for the second time, determined I was going to either get it right, or keep it low. My sister convinced me to try a texturizer though. She promised it would be gentler on my hair and make it ‘less dry’. She had just recently cut hers too so I decided to give in once again. Even guys use Sportin’ Waves®, I thought. What’s the worst that could happen? I never learn, do I?
I got burnt like never before. Even an aloe vera mask could not get my skin to dry in 2 days. My whole hair became a sticky mess. I couldn’t leave the house for 3 days. Funny part is, my hair is in no way softer or better looking after all that.
So is the third time the charm? I certainly hope so…
Here’s the thing: I can’t blame my mom, or my hairdresser, or my sister. You can only teach what you know. It’s a little more than we the actors in this little story. It’s a cultural thing.
- Why is wearing my ‘natural hair’ unkempt and unprofessional?
- Why is it ok for me to suffer the pain of severe burns and personal harm to ‘blend in’?
Some of the questions I leave to you. Others, are for me.
‘Everything is not for everyone’ as they say. Some women have no problem with relaxed hair. That’s cool. So no one should have a problem with mine. Well, I can’t change the world. I’ll start by changing myself. Keeping my natural hair has become my personal challenge to myself this 2018. It’s both a Political and a Personal stand.
Hello! don’t forget to catch HairDay coming up next which will be all things hair: natural, unnatural or supernatural! 🙂