I’ve been thinking recently about doing something with my hair. Growing up I was pretty well known for doing crazy things with my hair. I’ve had a Mohawk, dreadlocks and just randomly shaved the bottom half of my head of hair off all on a whim. It was all about self expression I guess.
I guess I have been pretty lucky as copious amount of peroxide (normally 3 bottles at a time), hair dyes and chemical relaxers my hair has always grown back and been relatively healthy. I have visited a hair dresser a handful of times and have mainly hacked away at my locks myself.
I’ve always had a pretty flippant attitude to hair. It’s just hair after all it grows back NB:I am aware that a huge part of this has been because it has always been my choice to hack away at it and when it has fallen out in the past, which it has, it has been my own fault. I can completely understand why others may find something like that traumatic especially when it is due to health conditions.
Over the years my friends and family have got used to me doing crazy things with my hair. Once my husband (boyfriend at the time) came home to find me looking like the picture below. His sister was really into Dragon Ball Z at the time, I think it may have had an impact on me. In truth this was the first stage to me getting to platinum blonde.
So all of the above shows that me doing something random, unexpected is really not that unusual at all. However, I haven’t been hankering to cut it into some crazy style or dye it a shade of blue or pink. This hasn’t been about expressing the angst inside, or trying to scream and shout I am different, I am unique. Or at least I didn’t think it was. However I am now starting to wonder if it is but on a different kind of level?
I have been putting a chemical relaxer on my hair for SEVENTEEN YEARS!!!! What the actual fuck… First off where has all that time gone. Also this means I have absolutely no idea what my natural hair is like. Is it Dry? Curly? Wavy? Kinky? Coarse? At thirty years old I don’t really know how to look after my natural hair either. So a few weeks ago a decision was made, I decided I wanted to grow out the realaxer and get my natural hair. It feels really important to me.
Now my mum is a white woman who had 4 mixed raced children. It would be easy to blame her and to assume she never learnt to look after Afro hair, BUT that is just not true. My Mum looked after our hair beautifully. I remember my hair when I was seven it was beautiful. I remember sitting and having to get my scalp greased, getting my hair detangled and put into plaits, cornrows, or parted and put into twists with boobles, ribbons and clips etc. My Mum loved doing our hair and she was good at it.
When I became a teenager, I was desperate to get it relaxed like so many of the girls at my school and the Celebs at the time Naomi Campbell, Tina from S Club 7 and Samanatha Mumba. They all had either relaxed hair or weave that looked like it was relaxed. So I followed suit.
I decided I was going to do what was called transitioning. When you slowly cut out your relaxed hair (normally over 12-24 months, depending on length) and eventually you end up with just your normal natural hair. I spoke to my sister who did this 2 years ago, a close friend who also did this many years ago and binged on YouTube videos. I was ready. Except I wasn’t. It was much harder dealing with two hair types especially when I wasn’t using any heating products (hair dryers, straighteners etc) as an attempt to protect my new growth.
So after a shower yesterday I did this…
I put my hair in a pony at the nape of my head and cut it clean off. Unfortunately the Little Princesses Trust, doesn’t accept Afro hair (and it was too short at a mere 5″). This is what I was left looking like.
You can’t really see in the above photo, but the back is very short. It’s no longer that 2″ max, however that was before the shrinkage. The front as you can see was much longer. Due to my roots it was very poofy and didn’t look too great. So today whilst the hubster was at work, I decided to bite the bullet and go for what is known as THE BIG CHOP!
I took out the clippers and started shaving away.
A number seven and finally a number 3. I am now 100% completely natural! This is the third time in my life I have done a Big Chop, but I have always gone back to relaxer afterwards. This is the beginning of one hair journey and the end of another. The reason I called this post ‘it’s only hair…or is it?’ Because yes, it is only hair and yes it will grow back, but our hair, particularly as women defines so much of us.
Having my hair like this is going to raise certain things within myself, such as how my beauty is defined and more importantly how I define it. I am going to learn more about my hair and my roots. I am going to have to change where I shop, what I buy and how I learn to manage my hair. They don’t call it a journey for nothing.
For now, this is me.
I plan blog about my hair journey and how I find it with my TWA – Teeny Weeny Afro. I am also hoping an added benefit will be my eldest son seeing me maintaining my hair in a way which will be much more similar to how we do his, will help him become more confident in how beautiful his natural hair is.
Thanks for reading