“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!!!
It’s the last day of the year in my cold, frosty below zero corner in Minnesota and its been a year full of life. (Current mode, all wrapped up with fuzzy socks on lol).As I reflect on this year I appreciate my life, that of my family, friends, and my readers. I am also touched that I am able to bring some positivity to my world through my words and creativity.
In 2018, I look forward to volunteering more both in my local and international community. I want to use more of my nursing skills to serve the less privileged and empower them. I also cannot wait to share the uplifting project I am working on and to the other creative projects that are calling my name!! woohoo,yes i am super excited y’all!! Hey people, I might get my billboard sooner than I taught so watch out oo(happy voice!!)
As we end this year, I am so happy to say that blogging has allowed me to share more of my world and I look forward to sharing more exciting and inspiring stories in 2018 and beyond. Cheers and Happy New Year! Afehyia! Bonne Annee! Feliz ano Nuevo!
Picture credit: Carly Milbrath
I have been blogging on this page for a little over a month and would like to throw a little more insight into my world and what I stand for. My name is Stefanie and I am originally from Ghana, West Africa and I have quite a fascinating accent because I have lived away from Ghana for more than a decade. I get teased about my accent from my Ghana people because I apparently sound American lol. Let me sip on some champagne y’all!lol
Writing has always been my way to pour out my innermost thoughts, struggles, and aspirations. Writing has allowed me to be creative and I want to use it to inspire people especially immigrants, women of color, mothers like myself who wake up each day with dreams of hope! Like myself, I know you work hard each day in your many roles to put food on the table, to inspire your children and or community, and are role models. My mission is changing the face of beauty and showing you how to walk that path with your inner and outer beauty!
My path has led me to be walking example of beauty and intelligence as I work as a Registered Nurse with over 7 years of experience. My background is ICU/Cardiac Telemetry/Perianesthesia. My role as a registered nurse allows me to be a patient advocate, a teacher, a comforter and most times a patient listener to patients who are very lonely and need someone to hear them. I also represent a minute representation of diversity in the registered nurse profession in the United States. According to the Modern Health (2016) report, less than 25 % of Registered Nurses in the United States of America are minority nurses;not Caucasian. I therefore walk in the shoes of a role model and inspire countless of young women and men of color who never thought about a career in the medical field.
As a model, I also represent a minute representation of people of color. This is one of the reasons I decided to be vulnerable and get into the commercial fashion industry in Minnesota. I went in fully aware of the possibility of rejections, but that has not stopped me from securing fashion jobs with established names and local fashion houses. I will continue to work harder and make my mark because everyday I hear personal stories from family, friends and their daughters who are teased because of the color of their skin and hair texture, colleagues who are unaware of their beauty, community members who have been labelled as beautiful based on their weight. They raise their head high because they see someone like them changing the face of beauty. These lovely pictures are from the Holiday Party at FGI-MSP EVENT of which I am a proud member.I am dying to hear your comments.