THE BEGINNING OF THE KINKS...
Here is my natural hair story …but if you can’t bear to read it all, no problem! Just check out my video below.
My transition to natural hair In words
Roughly four years prior to starting my natural hair journey I had started to fall out of love with my relaxed hair. It was limp and lifeless, thin and stagnant but I didn't feel I had sufficient knowledge about how to care for my natural hair. I also didn't think my natural texture would conform to society's ideas of what was a neat or professional appearance. Growing up I adopted the idea that natural afro hair was
'unkempt' and 'rough'. It certainly wasn't considered beautiful or attractive in my young mind. During my teenage years, my boyfriend (who is now my husband) was one of the few people who voiced a positive opinion about afro hair (and he is caucasian!).
Even family members took the opinion that relaxed or chemically treated hair was a better hair type to possess. While at secondary school I believed having natural hair was a pain. I was bullied during my early secondary school years. Those who taunted me would often refer to my hair, calling it “picky”. Most girls had relaxed hair, weaves or extensions.
These styles were seen as more acceptable. It was during this period of time I really grew to hate my natural hair. There were times when I would despair and wonder why God had given me such ‘ugly’ hair. There weren’t any role models around me to affirm that natural black beauty was OK. No programme presenters, no dolls, no teachers, no-one that really showed great joy in wearing their natural hair. What surrounded me was natural hair that was covered, hidden and changed. Never celebrated. I couldn't wait to relax my hair…
Relaxed but far from relaxed
I relaxed my hair when I was 15 years old and at first it seemed great. However very quickly my hair started to break. It became thin, weak and lifeless. I also suffered burns to my scalp and some damage to the edges of my hairline. My hair hardly past a certain length. Regardless of these issues I faithfully continued to get my hair relaxed every 8-10 weeks. I felt trapped. I had zero confidence in wearing my hair in its natural state and yet I wasn't enjoying my relaxed hair which was so unhealthy.
10 years after I first relaxed my hair (and when my first daughter was one) I started to think about my natural hair again. I thought about how I didn't want my daughter to perm her hair but to rather love and be thankful for what she had. I suddenly realised that I hadn't been thankful for what was growing out of my own head. Instead I had been trying to change myself to fit the beauty ideals of western society.
How could I tell my daughter to be satisfied with her hair when I wasn't leading by example? She would grow up seeing me using dangerous chemicals to alter my hair in order fit into social norms. She would also never see what I really looked like with the hair God had created me with. I definitely didn't want that to be the case.
I needed to set an example.
I needed to change.
For so many years I had been ignoring the health dangers related to the use of relaxers and I didn't have a true love and appreciation for my natural hair. So In April 2011 after my last trip to the hairdresser enough was enough. I returned home feeling less than joyful at my bone straight limp hair.
I went online and discovered that there were women blogging about how to care for afro textured hair. I was truly amazed and immediately wished I hadn’t gone to the hairdressers that afternoon! I had no idea about the natural hair community until that day. I’m so thankful to those who were brave enough to take that step and share their natural hair journeys online. I was finally inspired.
Then I needed to get educated about my natural hair. I held many misconceptions about caring for afro hair e.g “It was unmanageable" or “It could never grow to long lengths" however since beginning my natural hair journey so many of the myths I believed have been shattered.
It is manageable, it is versatile and it grows like any other hair type and… it is beautiful!