Over the past few years, I have always been at odds with the tub of hair straightening relaxers which we black women so frighteningly turn to on a regular basis. Why is it that we are so convinced of the fact that the natural follicles growing out of our head is not good for us?? At what point in our history did someone make the decision that the black person’s hair is bad??
Think about it for a hot second.. The Caucasians, the Asians, all races have features that set them apart. God has created each race with distinct features which are unique to them. Why would God (forget God for a second here).. why would nature even, have caused us to evolve with hair that is not good?? As far as I am concerned, we black women have undergone decades of mis- education, mis-information and ignorance about what is actually good for us. Over the generations, instead of learning how best to grow and nurture our naturally different hair, we have allowed convention to teach us to pour harsh and damaging chemicals into our hair. I cannot begin to recount the number of black women whom I have seen with receding hairline all the way around the hair line (and they are only still in their twenties!). It’s unbelievable.
I am not saying that I have never turned to a tub of relaxer in the past. As a matter of fact, I remember pulling out all the stops to get my first relaxer at the age of 13. I was convinced that my life would be much better only if my hair was bone straight. I would only look beautiful when all my afro curls magically disappeared with the administration of Venus relaxer product. I would be as beautiful as the women on the adverts. Guess what?? Applying relaxers was only the beginning of my confusion. I never really noticed my hair grow. Every time I washed my hair (maybe every 6 weeks.. imagine the stink!) I would lose clumps of hair. There was never any indication that my hair was growing at all. I was convinced that we black people were just cursed with our afro hair. I was convinced of this until a few years ago when I started to find information on the internet. I found a wealth of information on African American women who were starting to discover how to manage and nurture their own natural hair. Now, I am not talking about a bunch of religiously obsessed mixed race women who only want to have natural products on their heads and are blessed with good genes. I am talking about well educated BLACK professionals and youths who wanted to challenge the status quo which dictates that every black woman should have fake hair like Beyonce.
In the winter of 2005, I became angry enough with my relaxed hair that I decided to just cut it off. I wasn’t thinking clearly about my plan of action. I just knew that I wanted to take my relaxed hair off my head so I did a butchers job of it. Lol. This is quite funny because at the time, I just grew my hair and kept it natural. I was not aware of how to maintain it. I did not have any agenda on how I intended to nurture my hair. Also, I faced a lot of pressure from friends and family on my decision. Every time I went back to Nigeria, friends and family would comment on how nuts I was. In December of 2009, I lost track of my purpose and I ended up relaxing my hair. The minute I did this, I knew it was the wrong decision for me. I would spend the next 18 months grieving for my natural hair. But I knew that I was not ready for it. I was not armed with the information which I needed to ensure that my natural journey was successful.
********sorry for the low resolution pictures from 2005 - 2006***************
In October 2010, I was again angry with the relaxer and I chopped off my hair… again. Lol! Yes.. I did.. I chopped it off. This time around, I felt like I was in a better place to handle my natural hair compared to 2005. Now I had the courage to style my natural hair and go to work while back in 2005 I would never do this ( what is the point in keeping natural hair if you are not going to wear it out right??)
A few months down the line, I am doing well with my natural hair. I have learnt to condition and pamper my hair. I have learnt that an
yone who says a black woman does not need to wash her hair every week is a liar. I have learn protective styles for my natural hair and I have most importantly learnt how to respond to people who tell me that my hair is “different”
My hair is 100% kinky and I am
from Oke-Odo in Ibadan, Nigeria.. there is no racial mixing history in my family which my hair could have benefited from. I believe that every black woman can do this but I am not advocating to convince every black woman to go the same route as me. I am just simply sharing my experience.
I hope you can see the differences in how my hair looked back in 2005 when I sponteanously went natural without being fully prepared and in 2011 when I was actually taking proper care of my hair. The 2011 pictures are less than a years worth of growth and I have since trimmed the ends to ensure the relaxed bits were totally taken off.
It is my hope that as my hair continues to grow, I can share with blogsville my experience and hopefully one day encourage someone to go “NATCHIE”