When people ‘return’ natural and join the online natural hair movement, one of the things that often happens is an obsession with monitoring the growth of their hair or length checking. It took me about two and half years before I decided to do one for myself. That was in September 2012, 2 years and 5 months after I started growing my hair (I was natural for 5 months before I stopped my barber shop trips). It has been 19 months since my last published length check. People keep asking why I haven’t done one since then and can’t seem to understand that I simply don’t feel the need to anymore.
My first length check pictures caused quite a sensation. All of a sudden, I wasn’t this natural hair curiosity anymore. Instead, I was clearly someone who knew what they were doing when it comes to hair and had produced tangible results. Thus, my length check pictures gave me credibility. Even now, the length of my temporarily straightened hair is what is guaranteed to convince people to listen to me. That’s fine, because to be honest, up until that point I also didn’t realise how much my hair was growing and thriving.
So, why have I abandoned them?
When I started ZedHair in August 2010, my aim was to prove that natural hair could not only be fashionable and stylish, but that it could grow long and healthy. I still believe that, but I no longer judge myself by the length of my hair. Instead, what I am most proud of and what gives me greatest pleasure is seeing how well my hair and I have gotten to know each other. We have a great relationship and we understand each other. When I treat my hair well, she responds accordingly. Every time I neglect my hair, she gives me the cold shoulder. I have to be really nice to her and make up for it and then we are friends again. I never thought this would happen. When people stop me in the street, in queues, at the supermarket til etc, it is not because my hair is long. They stop me because they can see that my hair is natural and that I wear it natural and that I like it that way. Depending on where I am it looks, stylish, funky, professional and above all — Awesome!
I have fallen in love with my hair. I have learned how to style it myself. I have gained in confidence and skill to try new things and new styles and I am still learning. My hair is always evolving and is full of surprises. I no longer feel the need to prove anything to ANYONE or even myself about how long it is. What matters is that I am enjoying my hair and that I am having fun with it. Why is this important? The main complaint you hear from naturals is that their hair is difficult to manage (meaning they just don’t know HOW to manage it) and that they don’t know what to do with it. Challenging myself with the diversity of natural hair styling is what I enjoy most because it helps people to realise just how normal natural hair is.
This was me soon after the Big Chop in January 2010. I look forward to cutting my hair again soon because in 2010 I didn’t have anywhere near the confidence that I have now. Looking back, there are soooooooooo many styles that I wish I had done on my hair back then. Lupita Nyong’o’s red carpet looks is a perfect example of just how much you can do with really short hair. I can’t wait
Those who have been following ZedHair for several years know that I plan on getting Sister Locks in 2015 (next year). This is still the plan, but don’t be surprised if I postpone it slightly as I am enjoying my hair so much right now.