In my opinion, we were all meant to be natural but not everyone has to be natural. For various reasons the product design has undergone several modifications along the way, and for whatever reason the modification, everyone reserves the right of choice! Quick disclaimer before the ‘creamy crack crew’ (who I have love and respect for) whip out the machetes!
Why did I go natural? I never followed the ‘natural hair movement’, I didn’t have any close friends who were, I didn’t watch the YouTube videos and no one ever asked me whether I had ever considered doing so either. It simply was not on my radar! ‘You never know how strong you can be, until being strong is the only choice you have!’ Heard that one before? Good. Well, it happened only because I had no choice.
As soon as I was free of the ‘no relaxed hair’ secondary school rules, I went looking for the ‘quick fix’. I had my mum set up an appointment with her friend who was a home based hairdresser and within an hour of arrival, the modification was made! Away I went, happy at the new conveniences my new hair texture offered. Looking back, that moment was the beginning of the journey of self discovery.
About a year later I moved to the UK and quickly adapted to hair weaving under the guise of protecting my own hair from the winter elements. It was, and continues to be the hair culture of most Africans here, and without asking too many questions, I did ‘as the Romans do’. However, if that is the reason why we weave, why do we still weave in height of the summer heat? Hmmm….Anyway, I entered a cycle of weaves after weaves, and shoddy relaxer after shoddy relaxer, without ever giving my hair and scalp health some serious thought.
Interestingly, the relaxer always burnt my scalp, regardless of the strength, brand and length of time it was applied, much to the surprise of the hairdressers. That should have been the first clue, but instead, I ended up thinking something was wrong with my scalp, and never considered that the relaxer was not right for my scalp. So with this flawed concept, I kept my regimen up for four and half years.
One evening a friend was helping me take out a weave, when she noticed a patch at the back of my head. I was quick to accuse her of being scissor happy with my strands. The picture she took ended up becoming my point of reference for what would go on to be a bigger and bolder patch. From then on, every hairdresser would exclaim at the random lack of hair at that spot, and because I could not see it, I always assumed it was still the same small patch. ‘Hair always grows back!’ That is what we always say to ourselves.
Fast forward to almost a year later, when I had a weave taken out, and I was parting my hair into four equal sections, when I noticed, almost one quarter of my scalp, did not have hair. A comparison between a picture of that small patch and what I could feel with my hands left me in utter shock. Somewhere between the constant weaving and relaxers, one quarter of my head had gone almost bold! It was time..
‘..I am fearfully and wonderfully made….’