People have been asking me why I decided to go natural. I tried explaining it as best as I could but the reasoning is so deep… so personal. I suppose my naturalista sisters can relate.
Growing up as a coloured girl in Cape Town you realise that a lot of emphasis is put on hair. I suppose this is the norm for women of all cultures but I am speaking in my own capacity and experiences so bear with me.
|My gorgeous cousin and I (I’m the baby) We often have discussions about hair
From a young age I was taught that your hair is your pride and joy and you needed to keep it straight, shiny and healthy… by relaxing or using chemicals on it every few months. OOOH and let’s NOT forget about that coloured girl staple – “The Swirlkous” to keep your hair straight while sleeping (only while sleeping, people! I was not one of those chicks who went to the shop in her swirlie… ever. I kept it classy.)
I remember standing in front of my moms mahogany dressing table mirror, brush in hand, hair gone WILD (a few days before my scheduled relaxer) pretending to be Diana Ross. I loved her gorgeous mane of hair, but it was a strict no-no to walk outside looking like her. No, my hair had to be straightened if I wanted to wear it loose. I am not denying the fact that I LOVED it. The soft feeling, the wind lifting it away. I was Whitney Houston with straight hair then. Burnt scalp and scars aside, I was Whitney!
On occasion, my hair would be plaited. TIGHT. I often tease my aunt about it. She made the most beautiful diamond shaped plaits but it was torture! I would sit on the floor for what seemed like an hour while she worked her magical fingers over my hair. I winced in pain as she pulled at it – making me look more chinese than my great great grandfather who actually was! But I digress…
|I guess I was always a bit of a fashionista
Years went by and I fell pregnant out of wedlock (oh the scandal!!) The day I found out I was carrying a girl was one of the most happiest days of my life. I told my friend and she responded “Now I’m going to have to learn how to relax hair” – I think that sparked it all off for me. Was I going to allow my daughters hair to define who she was?
Admittedly I caved when she was 5. I took her to a kiddies hair salon and The Kid loved the wind blowing in her oh so light hair. It was so easy to handle. I had it done every 6 months thereafter – on her birthday in June and in December for Christmas.
The decision was made whilst walking through Cape Town station with my newly relaxed, flat-ironed hair. Don’t mean to sound dramatic but I literally stopped in my tracks. Turned around and realised that EVERY.SINGLE.WOMAN. on that station looked EXACTLY like me. Same hairstyle. Same boring dark outfit. I needed more. I needed my soul, my true self to break free. I longed to fall in love with my individuality. That is the reason I went natural- To fall in love with my true self.
My journey thus far has been both magical and nerve-wrecking. It’s a complete change of mindset. It has however brought out a whole new persona within me…who IS me… and I am falling so madly in love with her.
Breaking free from my past mundane existence where society dictated how I should dress and how I should wear my own hair has been the best move I’ve made.
I am learning how to handle my hair on a daily basis, falling in love with it, but more importantly… I am true to myself. It has opened my eyes in such a way that I feel anything is possible. My expedition has just begun…. and this as I slowly approach my forties!