Reunited And It Feels So Good! I Am Back In Love With My Hair
Like most African girls who are devoid of any exotic mixture, I have always had a love/hate affair with my hair. The picture of me at almost six months old sitting on my mother’s lap with a full-fledged afro on my tiny head is seared in my brain.
My hair was the very first thing people noticed about me because it literally had a life of its own, not to mention the fact that it was exceedingly long. As a little girl it was a nightmare for me every time my mom attempted to tame my unyielding tresses. As I would go through the process of washing, conditioning and finally plaiting, I tolerated what had become a rigorous regimen. I wondered how something I had been born with could cause so much discomfort. Why couldn’t I have been blessed with the long silky manes that my Caucasian counterparts so casually brushed off their faces or dutifully put up in a messy bun that always ended up looking annoyingly elegant at the same time?
Once I enrolled in boarding school, I was released from my mother’s fixation but I also entered a stressful period due to the fact that as a rule we had to have our hair neatly plaited; and if we failed to adhere to this, we were mercilessly punished. Finding someone willing to conquer the complexities of my hair was quite challenging and I grew to resent my “blessing”, and prayed for the years to fly by so that I could finally indulge in the “magic potion.”
Once I turned 17, I was given permission to get my first perm, and I remember how brutal the process was mainly because most, if not of all, the relaxers back then contained lye and God knows what else and it was virtually impossible not to experience some level of scalp trauma. But I was able to focus on the end result and that helped me get through the almost paralyzing burning sensation that lasted until the very last rinse. I remember how I felt when I saw my hair flowing down my back. It was a magical moment. I could run my fingers through it, and anytime I moved my head, my hair followed right on cue. I never imagined it could be that liberating and gratifying. This was going to become my lifetime obsession.
Fast-forward to years later and I can’t believe I ever saw my hair texture as a curse. Now that I have joined the silver-haired club, I truly understand how lucky I was to have jet-black thick healthy hair that grew like a weed and could withstand any level of abuse. Inheriting gray hair completely transformed my texture and saddled me with extreme dryness and persistent breakage. Ironic isn’t it? Once I was finally ready to truly embrace my natural state, my hair was beginning to its lose lustrous essence. I wasn’t sure I could pull off being completely natural so I tried to console myself with what I thought would be the next best thing. I tried texturizers, keratin treatments and glorified conditioning sessions but my hair didn’t quite flourish the way I had hoped. I ended up spending quite a bit of money in an effort to improve a feature that was already the best it could be.
The bottom-line is that I decided to stop trying to alter what didn’t need to be messed with and embrace my tresses in all of their undiluted glory. I needed to stop getting hung up on the issues I was having with going gray and deal with the fact that I was more than capable of restoring my tresses to optimum health without any chemical aids. Well… except for the sporadic doses of color. I am absolutely not ready to sport a head of gray hair. I prefer a chestnut brown hue personally.
So far I have to say that once I honored my vows, I became a different person. I did the research and experimented and of course I failed more times than I want to admit but eventually I settled into a groove and implemented a system that works for me.
You have to program yourself to not be prejudiced against your natural texture and celebrate your roots by honoring the very thing that sets you apart from the rest of the pack.
You end up saving tons of money and manifesting the longer tresses you have always fantasized about.
I am not ruling out the notion of getting a perm in the future but so far I am immeasurably content and that’s all I can ask for!