I’ve written about the journey with my hair before in https://ndapewoshaliwrites.com/2019/07/03/the-one-with-the-afro/ but recently, I have come to a realization about myself, that shook, even me. If you would like to read more about why, when and how I cut all my relaxed (chemically straightened) hair off, and the aftermath, you can read about it in that article.
If you follow my blog or follow me on any social media platform, you’re probably aware that I braid, style, wash etc., my own hair. Sometimes, you’ll see me post a video or photo of myself braiding or styling my hair and sometimes, the comments are disheartening. Either as straight forward pity like “Why would you put yourself through this?” or the more veiled underhanded comments that insinuate that I am “suffering” through the process of doing my hair because I can not afford to go to a hair salon. Let’s all laugh together in cursive.
Until recently however, I couldn’t put in words, why I thought those opinions to be laughable. It wasn’t until I watched Natural hair struggles? Not anymore for these young girls | Nancy’s Workshop which is a documentary about how once a month, Nancy Falaise http://www.nancyfalaise.com/ closes the doors of her hair salon to lead an empowering workshop for young Black girls struggling with their natural hair, that I got it.
As I watched that documentary, at my big age, when she gently corrected the girls for the manner in which they speak about their hair, I felt like she was correcting me – and I needed that correction. When she said “our hair is not hard, wood is hard, we have a tighter curl pattern”, I paused. I felt like I finally made sense to me! And more than anything, the way I’ve been speaking about my hair, needed to change.
The big “ah ha!” moment for me though, was that I could finally answer the question “why”. Before, I would simply say “why not?”; it’s my hair on my head, how can it be “too difficult” for me to maintain? More importantly, why have we been conditioned to see it that way? Difficult. Kinky. Unmanageable. Nappy. Bad hair. Course. “Crying for a touch-up of relaxer”.
I finally realized that no matter how many times I have considered and even spoken about cutting it all off or relaxing it again (because it’s just too difficult and wash day is just…whew!), in the seven years since my “big chop” I have never actually felt convicted to do so. I finally see that that was because the reason behind me wanting to do so wasn’t because I wanted short or straight hair, it was because I felt like the way I wanted my hair, was just too difficult, too time consuming, just too much.
I have to admit that with all that said, I have been trimming it quite a bit (because I thought if I let it grow to long, I would die by way of wash day LOL) but I’ve recently decided to let it grow, so I’ve stopped taking so much off when I trim it and I even bought a couple of wigs so that I manipulate it less and give it time to grow.
Anyway, I really love the diversity of hair. Short, long, curly, straight etc. I see hair as a form of expression so I literally LOVE all of the wonderful, creative hairstyles, this world has to offer. So, this blog is definitely not bashing any type of hairstyle or anyone. So, I guess maybe now would be the right time to mention that if I ever feel compelled to cut it all off, relax it, or style it in any other way because I want to, I will. Just as I often switch it up with other hairstyles, colours etc. But to do it because I feel like I have bad, unmanageable hair… never that!
I have also realized that my attitude towards braid day or wash day, has completely morphed with time. What I used to dread, I now simply see as a necessary process which I will do, perhaps get a little tired, and carry on. I realized I do it because I love my hair! I love what it looks like in an afro, braids or however I choose to style it. So, that is “why”.
Perhaps, in a subconscious act of protest against myself and my social conditioning, I have chosen to not see my hair as something I struggle with. Perhaps I have decided to reject the narrative that maintaining my afro is an unnecessary form of self-punishment. Perhaps it’s just my hair. It’s not difficult; it just is… and I love it.http://www.ndapewoshaliwrites.com/googlef0a869e5d91a3bda.html googlef0a869e5d91a3bda.html