Natural hair is not only a decision; it’s a process.
My journey began when I saw my processed hair on the floor of the natural hair salon. I felt a mix of emotions: regret, sadness, fear and happiness coursing through me. How would my parents react? How would my family and friends react? Will I be treated differently? My parents’ reactions varied from outright loving my new look to nonchalantly shrugging the shoulders and saying: “Your hair will soon grow back.” My close friends’ reaction was similar. In fact they inquired: “Why did you cut your long hair?” But society treated me differently with short hair than with long hair. With short hair, I was perceived as a rebel, afro-centric and artistic. I was viewed less feminine and treated differently to my counterparts with longer tresses. I believe the photo above summarises the views. Yet at that point in the salon chair, all I experienced, was the wind blowing across the nape of my neck for what felt like the first time in years. I felt exhilarated, like I was about to start a new adventure.
My hair was an inch and a half long and the hairdresser did it in comb twists. She used holding gel and the end of the rat-tailed comb and twisted it. My hair looked different, lively and natural. Before my chemically processed hair was flat and dull. Every three months I had to submit my hair to chemical torture. Between the smell of the straightener and the burns on my scalp I had to take action to reclaim my natural hair.
For months I hid it under the guise of artificial shoulder length natural twists. My hair grew and had to be treated again every three months. Then I found a texturiser which was less damaging to my hair. My decision to loc my hair came around after the death of my father. Out of respect and also out of fear of disapproval from my father, I started the process of locking my hair. It was an amazing feeling. Natural oils replaced the harmful chemicals. My coils were liberated and celebrated. The downside to it was that society expected me to act a certain way: be a vegan, not wash my hair, be artsy, smoke weed, listen to Bob Marley!?!
When asked why chose this hairstyle, my response is comedic: I don’t like to comb my hair. What surprised me is that this hairstyle is a lifestyle. Yet it teaches you that people’s opinions belong to them. Don’t adopt them or take them on as your own. It also challenges the perception of beauty. Natural beauty goes beyond hair, skin and nails. It is a holistic experience. It is a conscious decision that is made every waking moment of your life.
My natural decision also goes to wearing makeup. For me, makeup is for special occasions. As my lifestyle is hectic, it is difficult to factor in the necessary time for makeup. My hope is that when my lifestyle slows down, there will be an opportunity to incorporate time for makeup. I am of the view that makeup should enhance your natural features and not cover them up. My makeup celebrates my ebony skin, my small almond shaped brown eyes and my full luscious lips. It does not cover up my flaws, which make me unique. It compliments them. This vision allows a sense of freedom.
Today, decide to live your life free from grudges, free from the drama and in peace. And remember that we are not perfect, only our Maker is perfect. We may strive for perfection but we must not let our perception of perfection take over our lives. Those persons whom you have issues with, or disagree with on points, that is acceptable because we are all different naturally. So when you see them smile at them because we are all fighting the same struggle which we call life. If someone does you wrong or if you wrong someone, step back and karma will do the rest. Life is too short to be worried about someone else. Strive to be better than you were yesterday and always put God first. Don’t try to live another person’s life. Live your own. Make the decision and go along with the process. Only God knows the destination at the end of the road of your personal development.
Be natural! Be beautiful! Be you!