After having my hair in braids for about six weeks, and in a weave for four weeks before that, I decided to go natural. Why? I can’t honestly say. It was a combination of events, words, books and speeches that led me to it. I had just finished reading Americanah (a review of that lovely novel coming soon) and watching Chimamanda Adichie’s interviews and I realized something, natural hair really is gorgeous. Now, I have quite a lot of friends who are natural and I have been seeing natural hair around, but it never really clicked for me. Yet, just a couple of days before I was to take out the braids and make the regular appointment with my hairdresser, I read a novel, saw a couple of interviews, viewed some blogs and I decided that I’d had enough of my scalp always getting burnt with the relaxer. It has always been a sore point for me. I’ve been relaxing my hair since I was eight and every single time, my scalp suffered and it would always take a couple of weeks for it to heal. Now why the hell would I put myself through that shit every six to eight weeks to get straight hair that would start to fizz and thicken three to four weeks after that? And don’t get me started on how the rain ‘ruined’ my straight and beautiful hair. It made absolutely no sense.
So, after I had that epiphany (I tend to have them a lot. You will see that as I continue to upload posts to this blog), I decided that I could stretch my hair and only relax my hair once a year, just to see if I can manage it. Now at this point, I had no idea what I was going to do with my hair or how I was going to manage it. No plan of action in sight. *cue in my flying by the seat of my pants persona. Then one Sunday, I had a brain wave, I was going to do a big chop and cut off all my hair: *fly by the seat of my pant persona strikes again. So, I went out searching for a barber to try out this new bald look I had decided I was going to go for. Unfortunately, when you’re traipsing your neighbourhood at 10:30pm on a Sunday, you are not going to find a barber. I went back home disappointed, until my friend pointed out that I should sleep on it and see if I still wanted the cut by morning. Plus, he also reminded me that I had no scarves or wigs to tide me over during this bald period, especially if I ended up hating the way I looked without any hair.
So, still grumbling, I head to bed. I wake up Monday morning immediately patting my head and rushing to the mirror to ascertain that yes I still had hair on my head. What the hell was I thinking? (fly by the seat persona wryly chuckles at this point while plan all the minute details persona glares at her) I didn’t want a big chop! I wasn’t ready to lose my hair. But I was slowly coming to the realization that I did want to try being natural. My hair looked great relaxed, but it could be better. And I know that if I started giving her (Yup, I refer to my hair as a she. Bite me :p) all the attention and love she deserved, and eased off the chemical that my scalp kept screaming against, she would be her best self. I was already working on regular exercise (will do a post about that soon), eating well (more of that to come soon as well) and taking better care of myself. My hair deserved the five star treatment as well.
Enter my *plan all the minute details persona, who decides to go on a spree doing research and surfing for hair websites, blogs, instagram handles and youtube bloggers to help with hair advice. Arming myself with the information I needed, I took in a deep breath and said it aloud to myself for the very first time: I am going to do a long-term transition to natural hair.
With that said and in the universe, I started styling my hair. Now I’ve always been able to deep condition, wash and condition my hair myself. But I learned detangling methods of the internet and started listening to my hair and what she wanted. Now, I suck at doing my own hair. I’m not the girl who can braid her hair (except for putting said hair in Calabar plaits. That, I’m an expert at). Nope. I’m the girl who heads to the salon to have her hair done. Always have. Hell, I don’t know how to pack my hair in styles. I’ve been the stereotypical girl with semi-long hair who just uses a scrunchie to bind her hair at the nape of her neck and that’s it. So learning how to work with my hair on the days when it’s not in professionally done braids was and still is a terrifying idea. Which is where my appreciation for youtube channels comes in. I have been learning. Yay! So, last Sunday, I put my hair in Bantu knots (Yup, for Easter. Don’t give me that look. I rocked it *rofl), took out the knots on Tuesday morning when I was getting ready to head out to work and styled it the way I saw in one of the videos, and voila. See below. Yup, I did it. *minidancing.
So, this is how I started my journey. Am I going to stick with the long transition, I sure as hell hope so. I’ve come this far, and everyone, friends and non-friends alike can admit that yup, I am one heck of a stubborn cookie. So, here’s keeping my fingers crossed and seeing where this leads me.