I am not my hair... but is my hair ME?
So my hair has always been an expression or extension of me, and I think this is a double-edged sword.
On one hand - I love playing about with different hair colours, cuts and styles. As this offers an expression of my fun, quirky, unique fashion and personality.
But on the other hand - if my hair wasn't behaving the way I wanted it to, it would seriously affect my self-esteem and at times I would just not go out!
So from birth until my first year of secondary school I was natural. With quite a different hair type to the other female members of my family, I learnt from early I was different. I was told my hair was 'tough', 'hard to manage', 'too coily'... and this was by family! My confidence further diminished after swimming classes at school.
I was one of three Black girls in my primary school class. The other two were twins with a 'looser hair texture'. Google hair shrinkage if I've lost you.
I begged. And begged. And begged. AND begged my mum for a relaxer!
The Just for Me children's relaxer
This was the brand I used, and was the beginning of the programming most black little girls face - to convince them their hair is not enough. That alongside the programming of sitting still for hours, and sitting through a scalp on fire are remnants of colonial oppression.
I can still hear the cassette tape included in every box with the jingle -
"I want style, body and shine. A look that's totally all mine. Hair so soft, silky and free. I want something just for me. Just for meeee!"
A spooky fact is that LaTavia Roberson - a former member of Destiny's child was one of the girls on the box and singing the jingle.
Check out this post on reactions to the Just for Me children's relaxer.
23-34 - Back to Afro
I was forced into being natural because the relaxer was the enemy that stole my hair away. I was angry at it... and on reflection I’m glad! The early years of being natural were not easy especially as it was not yet a trend... it’s the year 2006.
It’s 2008 and I’m introduced to Rustic Beauty (who is no longer on YouTube but a Maternal Mother to the natural hair community) and later Naptural ’85 and I dive into my obsession of idolising African Americans because I cannot find any natural hair community in the UK. This was great support... like is African American books, films, protests. But not exactly my experience as I live in the UK.
I did later find Fusion of Cultures - a Black British Hair blogger.
34 - My Loc Journey
This is so recent – and as I write this it has been 9 days. There are several reasons for my decision to LOCK! But the one I would like to share is my belief in nature and how it holds the clues to how we should live in order to have a fulfilling life. As my hair for so long has been tied to my self-esteem, I’ve come to the real-eye-sation to free my Self and bound my hair – as I AM not my hair my hair is Me.
I’ll keep you posted as my journey continues...
What are your hair tips and tricks?
COMMENT BELOW TO ENLIGHTEN US! AND AS ALWAYS -