It has been almost 14 months (a year and seven weeks) since I wrote Part 3 in the Where My Natural Hair Journey Begins series.
|May 2010 – almost two years ago|
My motivation for going natural was nothing to do with being anti-relaxer, but more about embracing my roots and challenging stereotypes about natural hair as I had done with dreadlocks. The more people I spoke to, the more negative reaction I received. Most people thought I was joking and that I should just keep the dreads or relax my hair. After all, “You have really good hair Masuka. Why waste it?” In part 2 of my natural hair journey, I wrote:
‘My hair had been locked for five years and not only was I getting bored with it, but I also felt that I was no longer making a statement with my hair. I am not sure why I felt (or feel) the need to do this, but somehow I do. I knew I could never relax my hair again, so I was in a bit of a fix as they say.’
Some months later in part 3, I wrote:
‘Even though attitudes about dreadlocks have changed over the last six or seven years, my experience in the last two tells me that attitudes toward natural hair have not changed as drastically. I cannot tell you how many people ask me when I am either going back to dreads or relaxing my hair. The concept that I would choose to wear my hair natural is still strange. I am used to people asking me if I am Adventist. When I reply that I am not, I see confusion on people’s faces.’
In my personal hairspiration, I shared how I thought I would only be natural for about two years. That was until I came across the picture below of Mahogany Boisseau.
‘Monday morning, my computer was on and I had this picture up. I excitedly showed it to one of the ladies in my office and this was her reaction: “Ugh! She looks like a wild animal. I hope that is not what you are planning to do with your hair”. I was stunned and hurt. It was a reality check that natural hair still has so much negative stigma in this country, it is unbelievable. And THAT my friends is when I decided that I am keeping this hair until it become this long.
It’s like she dared me. I am on a mission to prove to myself first and foremost and to anybody else that cares to listen that it can be done.’
In the introduction to this blog, I said that I did my second BC for a couple of reasons. I wanted to get back to basics and be re-introduced to my hair, getting to know it again gradually. Secondly, I set myself a challenge:
‘1. Is it possible to have natural hair in Zambia and look good?
2. Can I wear my hair in its natural state, without a wig, weave or extensions?’
When I wrote I am not my hair, I said that:
‘In many respects, our hair defines us or we are defined by our hair or lack of it. People with good hair, bad hair, no hair, too much hair. so, even though I went to the extent of starting a blog about me and my hair, I can confidently say that I Am Not My Hair!’
So, in that one year, where has my natural hair journey taken me and what have I learned along the way?
Toward the end of 2011, I wrote a comment on The Natural Haven as follows:
‘As I evaluated my hair journey through 2011. I came to a clear realisation: I love my hair. I really do. Unlike during my first year being natural, in this second year, my hair and I have spent so much time together that I really feel we are coming to an understanding and are drawing closer together. We are still growing, making mistakes and learning from them through trial and error.’
It is now April 2012, four months since I wrote that comment on The Natural Haven. Reading that and reviewing the above selected excerpts from this blog over the last two years reminds how so many things in life are about learning.
I began this year feeling really frustrated and low about my lack of growth. Even if we say that everyone is different and don’t compare yourself to others, we still do this and need to be reminded NOT TO, over and over again. Back when I had dreadlocks, my hair took almost two years to fully lock. One day, I went to the salon determined to pack it in. My regular hairdresser Charity said to me, “Actually, I think your hair is finally starting to lock.” She had been doing my hair for two years and so I believed her. Later that day and in the following week I also noticed a marked difference in my hair. It is as though it just locked overnight.
Fast forward to two weekends ago and I had just finished twisting my hair and was wondering if this natural thing was worth it. I grabbed my hair in one hand to wash my face and was shocked that I was able to grip it in a ponytail with one hand and there were no twists which wouldn’t stay in place because they were too short. I was stunned to realise that while I had been faithfully slogging away for months, worrying about the lack of growth, my hair was doing it’s own thing. I recalled how when I had dreads, the front never seemed to grow for years, then one day, it just started growing and after a few months had caught up with the back of my hair.
|My DIY twists on the day of my ‘revelation’. Lol!!!|
Do I still find it frustrating that nothing seems to grow as fast as I want it to? Yes, definitely. But the experience reminded me that me and my hair are on a journey, strand by strand, inch by inch, day by day. I love the fact that I have learned to love the hair that grows out of my head. I am proud of the fact that I have the confidence to wear my hair the way God made it. I am also grateful that my hair is healthy and in good condition on account of the knowledge and techniques that this blog has enabled me to acquire over the last two years.