I’d like to bring out a lesson from the most unlikeliest place: my hair. I’m not particularly obsessed with my hair but like most women I could be finicky about it. I want my hair to look like a million bucks. I want to be comfortable with my hair. I have to say though that I belong to the group of women who don’t like adding extensions on. Gosh I love how other women look with them, they’re usually very beautiful and in my mind’s eyes I even look beautiful with them but in reality I don’t have the courage for them. You know how strands from them start sticking on your skin on extremely hot days…horror! It was with one of such experiences, after deciding that I’d had enough that I decided never to sew them in again. And the hairdressers don’t even help with the way they keep yanking at one’s scalp in the name of braiding, so it was a combination of the hairdresser’s ‘hard’ hand, the heat that comes with extensions, and my inability to maintain them that made me decide to stop them altogether. Even better was I wasn’t going to make my hair ever again, I was going to lock it. In my mind it was a better option than cutting off my hair or enduring the hairdresser’s hand. Three years later and I’m on a low cut. I’ve cut my hair twice in the last three years and not once in that space did I even mistakenly lock my hair. Then this morning someone suggested that I should cut my hair again, I could’ve laughed in Spanish!
Making the decision to go natural is a very huge one for me because with that I defiled conformity. Then with it came plenty of YouTube videos and hair articles, in truth the whole thing was draining, but not at first because I was still heady from the excitement of doing things my own way. I hadn’t told anyone before I cut my hair. A year later and I was VERY frustrated. Prior to going natural I wasn’t one to pay attention to my hair, I was pretty much a routine person, nothing extra, but with going natural I was now extra particular about my hair. For the first time I began to pay attention to what products I used, who did my hair, what kind of material I slept on, etc. I would for the first time ever come to say that I love my hair and actually mean it. I loved my hair absolutely. After going through the cycle of doubt, compromise and sometimes neglect, I decided to cut it again and I must say that I feel liberated from the need to have my hair a certain way.
As is with people, they’re wont to give unsolicited advice. Now I have people telling me what to do and not do with my hair. There’s this lady in particular who keeps implying -and she’s relentless- that I should subject myself to those hairdressers. I was just reflecting when it occured to me that this time around my resolve is much stronger than what everyone else thinks I should be doing with my hair. I’m no expert but I learnt this very clearly.
That listening to everyone on what i know i want for myself will frustrate me. I don’t know if it was that I trusted other people more than me or I was just being respectful of their opinion but I realised that I was listening to too many people, even five is a crowd. I’d decided on what I wanted so why did it suddenly not sound good enough in the face of other people’s opinion?…I learnt that defining what we want for ourselves CLEARLY is absolutely important. I’m not implying that we shouldn’t give ear to other people’s opinion, I’m simply saying that we should receive their opinion in the light of our own. There will be times when we need wisdom from other people’s experience, and that should count but have you realised how much we go to the wrong persons for advice? The people -whose advice I didn’t ask but were giving it- hadn’t gone natural like ever.
I also learnt that I have to be more confident of my choices. Because most of the people giving me advice were older, I assumed that they were right in telling me to ‘do my hair’ so I did my hair even after telling myself that I really didn’t want extensions. Many times I left the saloon wondering why I kept going back when I knew I didn’t like it, but you see my mum for one would not accept my hair as it was plus it didn’t help that I was not great at taking care of it. I don’t even know what she has against natural hair anyway.
This time around when everyone tells me what is best I just look at them with a smile on my face thinking ‘no way’. My resolve is much stronger having already failed myself once. Now I’ve clearly mapped out my goals and I intend to follow through, really though sometimes experience is the best teacher.