Monday, April 6, 2009
After my wedding, I had an idea to not put any chemicals in my hair anymore. While in Ghana, I had been pressured into over processing my hair with the lye until it was bone straight...grrr...Big mistake 'cos my hair started breaking after that! It was not falling out in clumps or anything of that sort. My hair was still quite healthy but after January of 2008 I stopped putting a perm in my hair! When I made the decision to go natural, I had not had any epiphany or mountain top experience to get in touch with my roots(no pun intended). I just wanted to do it.
In the summer, I opted for a shorter crop and chopped most of my hair off. By October, I had quite a bit of nappy growth(the word nappy does not offend me at all but I do realize it may be offensive to some people) so the day before my birthday, I cut off whatever straight hair that was left until I was almost bald! All this while, I was terrified! I had not had short nappy hair since the year 2000! Back in high school when I had nappy hair, it was really tight curls and not quite as nappy as I have it now. Back then my hair was mostly a 4A and very little 4B. Now however, after years of putting chemicals in, my texture is mostly 4B with the very back being slightly curlier than coily:)
I quite remember the first time I wore my hair in a twist out!I thought I would just die. I had no idea how dependent I had become on my hair and the length, texture or style of it. I didn't like feeling different. See, with my straight relaxed hair, it was easier to blend in. I didn't want anyone to think I was the poster child for the "Afrocentric movement"! No! I chose to go natural so why was I feeling this way. The day after, I went and put my hair in braids!
One time as I was reading, I wondered out loud why every other person in or race in this world seem to wear their hair the way they were born with except for people of African descent. I do understand that during the time of slavery, a countless number of evil was done against black women because of their hair.(That's an entry for another day) I do understand the reason why some do not ever want to be associated with "nappy" hair based on that history.
Growing up, I did not have any relaxer in my hair until I was in 5th or 6th grade. I remember my mama used to wear her hair in an afro for quite a while until she got a relaxer at some point. It doesn't bother me at all to see people with relaxed hair, by the way:)I just don't think anyone has the right to tell another person with natural hair to put a relaxer in just because they don't think nappy hair is acceptable.
Just this past weekend, I emailed a couple of my friends and my sisters some pictures of my hair journey and frankly, I received some really positive feedback. Not that any of the feedback would have changed my mind. My friend R. told me that wearing natural hairstyles at her workplace was a taboo! Really? I was so shocked that in Ghana, an African country, anyone would have the audacity to say you can not wear your hair the way God made it. I was furious but really what can I do about such a rule. I do not own the company!
For me, this experience has become almost spiritual! and I say that with much caution. I put a picture on facebook with my natural hairdo which I enjoyed for quite a few days. In my subconscious I am wondering if I played with it too much on purpose just so I could have an excuse to go and put braids in.(because they started coming undone after touching it like a millions times!)Anyways back to the spiritual experience. I was laying in bed and all of a sudden I could not sleep anymore 'cos I was freaking out again about the fact that I was not more accepting of my hair and how I looked with it. If God did not think it was good, why did he give me hair like that?
I felt like I was being ungrateful and this could apply to many aspects of our lives. For me, my hair journey has become an exercise of confidence in who God made me to be. It has become a journey of self acceptance and discovery. I am not there yet. I still struggle sometimes with how to treat my hair since I never really learned how to but I will get there eventually. I am watching what I put in this body given to me by my maker. I want to be a good steward without being obsessive about the creation.I do not want the focus or the praise...all I want to do is be a representation of His glory!