Friday, November 30, 2012

Adventures in Hair:An African's journey in Commitment


Interesting title huh?Sounds like some long treatise in an academic journal but I promise its anything but that.First let me say that this something quite personal and some of you may not agree with me, but its personal so that's to be expected.Secondly,enjoy reading and let me know what you think!
I was brought up like most Ghanaian girls of my generation with short cropped hair till I finished high school.During high school some of my class mates would keep their hair growing and tie it down at night so it looked short the next day,because it was required that we all have short cropped hair.In our final year some even did plaits and other things during vacations.As you may probably have guessed by now,I wasn't one of those.I was never particularly interested.All I wanted to do was just hide somewhere with a good novel.Who cared about hair when my heroine was getting swept off her feet by her dashing Prince Charming?
I should say though that I didn't have anything against those who liked long hair and stuff like that.I just wasn't interested.My mom however had long completely natural hair.Why do I mention this now?Because I enjoyed helping her remove her braids or corn rows( which she kept them in all the time) and I enjoyed the feel of the hair.I could run my fingers through her hair and play with her coils and that actually was something I did with my own kinky coils.I would be pulling and playing with them,especially the hair at my temples,till they fell out.I liked feeling the hair and it kind of became an absent minded/thinking/something to do with my hands kinda thing.
Its after high school.My mom started me off by plaiting my hair with thread(an African way of stretching natural hair called the tension method) because thats what she did with her hair.My hair was very healthy and plentiful, but it was too painful!On hair days I literally cried when my mom was fixing my hair and I just couldn't take it anymore.So I ran to my big sister for help, and she got me my first relaxer.I didn't really like my hair straight (wierdly).I preferred the rough kinky texture of my natural hair and the 'big hair' type look I had with my natural hair.However I kept at the relaxer cos I didn't really know any better alternative.I just kept my hair in pony-tails,braids and weaves most of the time and if I got a relaxer,I would curl my hair.My hair was fine,growing ok, and even started growing pretty well with the relaxer.I reconciled myself to that and decided to stay with it.Because I got bored very easily with my own hair,I always got other styles put in and every few months I would get a hair cut to try a different syle,but  it wasn't really working out.
Fast forward to after graduation from university.I was just browsing one day and found a video of a Black-American woman with lots of hair and it wasn't relaxed or weaved in.Apart from my mom and auntie I hadn't seen that before and she looked like she wasn't in any pain doing her hair.That's when I realised I could actually have my hair however I wanted it without it having to be painful.So I said to myself,'Hmm,I wonder how challenging it would be to try that?Ok!Challenge accepted!' lol.
When I cut off my relaxed hair,my auntie asked me why I did it because she didn't understand why anyone would want to cut off long hair when people were craving long hair.I said it was just to try something new.And that's why I stopped relaxing.
I have a lot of respect for those who have natural hair because they have issues with putting chemicals on their heads,or the gender stereotypes or racial issues or heat treatments, and I would like to say I have natural hair because of some noble reason,but its simply because I like it,and its something new.Its not because lots of people are doing it and its not because I think relaxers are 'evil',its simply because I want to learn to take care of my own hair and actually be commited to it.Till I cut off my hair I didn't even know I could do it, but its been fun.I enjoy learning hair styles and attempting them, and I like the fact that I can change my hair style everyday,by myself.Even more I like the fact that I haven't given up(thanks to encouragement from Annete of http://naturalistagh.blogspot.com/) even when my hair seemed completely unmanageable while in the past I would probably have got a relaxer.I like the fact that I stayed commited in hard times and now good times.Its what I playfully call commitment training 101 for marriage!(hahahaha!)
Image So there!That's why I have natural hair.If you have natural hair or considering it I hope this was interesting for you and I would love to know why you have natural hair.Thanks for reading and I hope this has been a fun read!I blog on my hair journey over at the Ghana Hair Chick blog so feel free to check it out.Cheers and remember change begins with Imageyou!