MY HAIR IS A POWERFUL ART OF SELF-EXPRESSION

I started my natural journey in 2016 towards the end of the year.  This decision was inspired by my daughter and her growing beautiful Afro.

After I had a baby in 2011, I experienced a major hair loss. Like most newly moms go through this phase which can take months for some, but it can also become extreme. I suffered from Postpartum Alopecia that occurs after childbirth because of the sudden change of hormones in my body.

For me it became extreme for few years up until I decided to that I needed a fresh start. By this time, I had already lost up to 60% of my hair. Like most people, I thought braiding my hair would strengthen it so as an alternative to wearing it out; I braided a lot until I had to face the reality.

I had healthy and strong hair growing up; I was that girl you always go to for hair advice. I struggled coming to terms with the fact that every time I looked at myself in the mirror, my hair was not what it used to be. 

I started developing low self-esteem issues because not only am I losing a part of me but I’m also a teen mom whose body teared apart bringing a life into this world, my world was already filled with a lot of self-doubt and imperfections. I’ve had my hair since the age of three years so I didn’t really know who I was without it.

Transforming from relaxing to natural hair was a challenge for me and also because the society has taught us to conform, it taught us that straight hair was better and that’s what beauty is and I also had no one in my circle of friends or in my family with Afro; basically I had no one to look up to.

I decide to cut my hair short to leave the roots out to grow and remove the relaxed hair on top and that was the best decision I’ve made for my hair;even though for a month or so I walked around Campus wearing a doek every day because I wasn’t sure I made the right choice.

I finally went to the barber after a month to get a proper cut. I started reading on natural hair and I was inspired and motivated by women who are unapologetic about their skin, who rocked their crows with absolute confidence and bravery. It’s amazing how much you receive when you’re open to learning. As much as I didn’t see much of people with natural hair around me, it was never about them. It was always about me loving myself completely and embracing who I am.

Once I was grounded on that truth, I started seeing so much beauty and confidence around me; I started seeing beautiful black women embracing their crows in so many different ways. I was inspired!!! It encouraged me to start this journey with my daughter. I wanted her to understand the power of self-acceptance and push out the society standards that make us believe that our black hair is dry, dirty or nappy. 

“I like my baby hair with baby hair and Afros”

” Afro hair is more than just what grows out the top of some people’s heads. It’s the summation of a cultural experience, a point of black self-expression and empowerment that’s borne out of one of the most accessible pillars of black community” – the barbershop.

I now know that hair does not define me because I have the freedom to define what beauty is and what it looks like to me. My hair is more than just a trend, it is a powerful expression, a movement and a solid work of art, created to perfection.

What’s important for me is healthy hair more than the length. I make sure that I get my hair into a routine that would get me those results. I am a 4B & C hair type and my daughter is a straight 4B.

  • I wash my crown once a week using TRESemme’ Care & Protect Breakage Defence Shampoo.
  • Condition it using Black Pearl (Afrobotanics) and braid it to let it dry.
  • I then apply MPL oil (coconut) on my scalp to strengthen my hair.
  • Then throughout the week, I apply Afrobotanics Mukaya African Oil Blend, which is a combination of Avocado, Baobab, Coconut, Marula oil and Shea Butter.
  • To style my hair, I use Eco styling gel but before styling it I must apply the Dark’n Lovely Naturale Afro Moisturizing Butter which is perfect for softening and moisturizing your hair to get that perfect look.
  • Water – Drinking water has so much impact on the health and growing of your hair…do it.

This journey has been imperfect and beautiful at the same time. I am not an expert when it comes to natural hair but I’m always open to learning so much more.  And doing this with my baby girl has made it extra special for me.

“There needs to be a greater acceptance and understanding of black hair and its many permutations. Black hair can make for artful forms of self-expression, not possible anywhere else. It’s a crying shame that there is so much tension in black hair. It’s so much more than a visual punch line.”

DARE TO BE DIFFERENT

The world hates anyone that dares to be different. They will come at you with everything, trying to shrink you and make you conform. They don’t know how to react or be in relationships with people who do not follow the crowd, people who do not live by the standards of the society.

The world doesn’t know how to handle your magic and the power that lies with being comfortable with your skin. We were taught to not be too much of anything, we were taught to be small, as a result; people are not comfortable to be around those who are completely in love with themselves.

It gets lonely sometimes, but it is better than losing yourself. I have cried myself to sleep at some point in my life because I felt that I couldn’t relate to most people. I hated bullies so I used to confront them while other people submitted to them. That has left me with no friends because I don’t fit in. That is far way better than losing yourself or your sanity.

Do not surrender to the standards of this world. You were not born to be average and you didn’t come this far to be mediocre. Go on even if it means you are walking alone, you will find people you relate to, I know I have.

ENLIGHTENING THE EYES OF MY HEART

There is so much power in the process of discovery, the process of understanding and learning the truths about ourselves. It’s easy to focus our minds on our strengths and the things we are good at than to actually confront the demons of our bad behaviours. I had to come to a realization that admitting to playing a part in particular situation does not invalidate my pain.

One of the most important things you have understand when you embark on this journey is to learn how to separate WHO YOU ARE and the things YOU HAVE DONE so that you don’t allow what you have done to define who you are. You are more than just your inability to communicate, your inability to show and express emotions.

You are deeper than your fears, your situation and your inability to articulate yourself. You must learn to push aside the ideals of the society that tell you that you must be a certain way in order to be accepted and start embracing WHO YOU ARE, there’s so much power in that.

The truth is you cannot grow if you don’t take accountability or responsibility for your part. We all like to think we are good people, most of us are but you need to get in the process of uprooting any seed that does not bear any fruits and start planting those that will.

This is probably one of the difficult assignments you will have to do this year because you will be very uncomfortable. You have been sitting in your pain and making excuses for your behaviour for far too long; it has made a home in you.

A lot of times people around you won’t call you out when you play victim because you being in that position is comfortable for them too. When you take accountability for yourself & your own healing, people start to lose control. It’s easy to control a victim than it is to control a healed, evolved person.

— Ask God to open the eyes of your heart.

— Decide that you will commit to learning and accepting of the revelations that come with that.

— This may take seeking peace with people you “beefing” with and have a conversation about their side of the story. This requires listening and understanding and definitely maturity.

— Embrace pain, don’t rush the process. Be in it, go through it and learn from it.

— This kind of enlightenment will teach you so much about yourself, about the relationships you are involved in and your role in the community.