“Why don’t you just relax your hair? It will so much easier for you to comb your hair” This was what I heard all too often when I started my natural hair journey. I started not knowing if I was ready to face the world that had never glorified natural hair. Growing up in Ghana, I went to a school where I had to cut down my relaxed hair from Grade 7 through 12. I can still remember how I tried to bargain with my mom to change schools so I could attend one where I could keep my hair relaxed and long. As a child, I can remember my dad was not happy when he came home and found out that my mom had relaxed my sister and mine hair to fit in. Yes, my dad loved the afro of the 70s and he loved natural hair. My mom on the other hand like women of her era felt femininity, professional acceptance, and being more European was linked to long, silky flowy hair wither with a wig, weave, or relaxed was the ultimate goal.
My teen years went by well with my short natural hair, but it was acceptable because most of my friends kept their hair natural too. After high school, I however could not wait to get my hair relaxed and add extensions to have it long and full. As a teen, I felt all the boys liked the girls with long, flowy hair. The media and the community I lived in both Ghana and the USA seemed to accord women with long hair as being beautiful as opposed to those with natural, short, coiled hair. The pageant world, magazines, and television also placed women with long flowing weaves on a high pedestal and I did not want to be left out. I could have saved thousands of dollars from all the weaves and time spent in salons to get my hair bone straight or with full Brazilian human hairweave.
I had no role models who had taken that journey to be natural. I realized after years of straightening and manipulation, my edges were thinning and I was spending so much on my hair to get it to look right. I needed to find something that was truly unique to me and have the option to change my hairstyle because I wanted to, not because I had to conform. The hair transition to getting my relaxed hair chopped was like being born a new and I never turned back. I must say I was still worried how the world would accept it and Boy it was liberating to rock my natural short hair. I felt free, authentic, and an influencer. I fully embraced my natural kinky and heavily coiled short hair and started wearing it more without extensions 3 years ago and I have seen more women come up to me at work and in the community compliment me on my hair.
They are amazed I can confidently switch my hairstyle. Anyway,I still get asked questions at work from my mostly caucasian colleagues about how my hair grew from one week to another since I do a times do wash and gos, twists, and protective styles such as box braids,natural hair weave styles, and crotchet braids hahaahaha! I am especially happy that I continue to see more black women transitioning to natural hair styles and being confident and beautiful. Guess what? my mom also transitioned to natural hair and she loves it!woohoo!!!