Anyone who knows me knows I have short hair right now. It hasn’t always been this way, I used to have long glossy hair tickling the top of my neck, my back… (no, it didn’t reach as far down as the rest of that song so bring it back) I constantly got asked things like is that your real hair, is it a weave, how long have you kept it (it was just 4 years long by the by).
And to be quite frank, I liked it. My views on my hair changed when I started to learn about black women in history, the slaves in America and how they were programmed to cover their hair or “tame” it. Being told that our hair in its natural state is not appealing to look at is, in simple terms, insulting. Like, how do you tell me that your straight or wavy hair is the ideal and I should therefore burn myself (by hot tools or chemicals) just to look a certain way? To look presentable? What is presentable anyway? Over time black women were convinced that straight is right and nappy is nasty. So when I fell on the Natural Hair Movement of 2015… I was awed.
These amazing beautiful women were wearing their crown the way it was created. My eyes were opened to the options that were once unthinkable. Braid outs, bantu knots, perm rods, straws, flexi rod sets and twist outs (I am yet to do a perfect one myself), the possibilities were endless! I had spent most of my childhood screaming in the salon when they’d blow-dry and hot comb my natural hair straight, and later (after a baldheaded O’ Level) when I started to regrow it, decided to straighten it chemically. This went on for 4 years until one day in October 2016, I had had enough. I came from a saloon where my scalp was barely left hanging. My hair was limp and fell on my face like it was thinning. It smelt like an industry. There and then I decided i was done.
I was going to start doing my hair in a way that gave homage to who I was. African. Unapologetically. So I started where i was, with my inches of relaxed hair, I started to try out natural DIY hairstyles. I bought a flexi rod set, a can of conditioner, shampoo and some coconut oil. Everyone was talking about coconut oil. So I’d try out different things and sometimes it’d come out, many times it was a disaster. I looked up everything I could on transitioning hair and big chops and which was better and how to take care of both.
So by December I had decided to grow out my hair in 2 textures for 3 more months then CUT IT ALL. I did a few protective styles like a weave and some braids while I waited, and around my birthday I cut some inches off just to get a feel of the snip-snip. I rocked a bob for a hot minute and then in April, I did it. I cut off my hair and it was a thing. A whoooole thing.
I felt so exposed, I couldn’t hide behind my locks anymore. And my mom was furious, “I want back the money I spent on your hair all this time!” I just laughed. It’s been 10 months since then and it’s as hard as I expected. My hair is 4C texture. So that’s like wool. Like wool wool. It’s extra thick so, hard to comb through and many times my DIY styles don’t come out (I’m learning, it’ll take time, chill) My friends had a hard time getting used to Wooly Lyn. I was bombarded with questions about how long this phase was going for, how short I was keeping my hair (that I am growing out my hair was a surprise. I can’t understand why) Someone once called my hair “kaweke” a term that is used to mean painful, overly coiled hair however it is usually used in a derogatory way that implied the hair is of poor quality. I wasn’t offended because I knew that my hair is strong and thick, dark with its grey wasps that remind me the fact that I’m an old soul. I wasn’t offended but I was just disappointed that this person (who had natural hair as well, but it was B textured) was saying the very things that discouraged women all around to keep burning or hiding their hair. I didn’t say anything to her but I brushed it (along with MANY other comments) off my shoulder and kept on, because I’m *proud* of my hair and what it means to me. This has been an eye opening challenging time, teaching me to fix my mane MY WAY, and my products shelf has gotten heavier (I’m talking gel, curl activating gel, mousse, detangler, a skilled hand, moisturising cream, aloe vera and the likes).