3 Nov 2010

Thoughtful Wednesday: This Is My Hair Story... Part 2

Like Edward Scissorhands, my new hairdresser used her scissors to cut and cut my hair into a lopsided long razor haircut...

Why was I letting her cut my hair in that radical hair style?

I was acting upon a comment one of my aunties in Italy made on my last visit “You are always stingy on your hair. Your hair is going to break.” In response, to show respect, I bit my lips and pretended been busy. The comments hurt me, because she really thought I was been stingy and I was not. For that reason I decided to try the new-posh-expensive hair salon near our flat.

September 2006, at my first appointment the hairdresser said “Your hair is very damaged.”

“Mmm, what can I do?” I asked concerned, after all I wanted to have healthy hair like everyone else.

“You should cut the end off...”

“Okay.” I didn’t think about it too much. I thought she was just trimming the end. Instead, she cut, cut and cut until one side was shorter than the other. My eyes were wide open because that was my first punk-radical haircut.

When I got home, Hubby was shocked but he was happy for me. The following months I saw more people with the same hair cut thanks to Rihanna’s hairstyle. I was happy only for awhile... by Christmas I was back to braiding again.

Early 2007 I decided to stop going to the hairdresser and I personally took care of my hair. I would wash it, add Amla hair oil and blow dry it. But then I asked my sister-in-law to use texturizer to soften my hair. I thought the chemicals in this product were less harmful. But still, I was very unhappy - I was stressing out and stressing my hair out.

By the end of 2007, I found myself braiding more often and relaxing less and less. I gradually avoided using all type of hair relaxers. I didn’t know I was going through hair transition – turning away from relaxed hair into natural hair. Throughout this period, I thought about the possible harm hair relaxers could do to my brain. Plus, I didn’t like the burning part and the pain that I endured for some ideal ‘hair’. I didn’t blame on anyone but maybe the media and some adults were to blame.

However, at the beginning of 2008 I went back to have my hair hot straightened :(. It went on for couple of months until a light bulb switched over my head one afternoon. I was in the salon observing all the women around me. There was a pretty preggo woman, a child, a teenager, an old lady... and some others. I was staring at the heavily pregnant woman and my mind started to form stream of thoughts:

"Look at us, no originality! We come here and we leave with sleek hair that I can't keep into place after a day – because, like mama said, I am hopeless with my hair. I have to spend £80 ($128) every forth night. Who makes me do this? When I sweat, and it is windy my hair is horrible because the real hair flies apart and you can see the fake hair. Only celebrities can get it right, but even Pamela Anderson can have a bad-hair-extension day - you can see her fake hair sometimes :). Most of these women can't even run their fingers through their hair because there is a knot for the fake hair. Didn't I read somewhere that pregnant women should not even colour their hair due to harmful chemicals. What about relaxing the hair each month for the next 9 months?"

I don't know if it was a sign or what but the same day I read an article which explained what is transition. Sad enough, that was the day I was fitting into my relaxed hair a set of new human hair extensions. I left the salon cross with myself for getting back into that kind of trend. But something remained with me - I need to go back to my natural roots.

My love for natural hair and locs returned. In the process I tried to find the cause my mother was dead against locs. She said that people will judge me if I did it. I am sure she was thinking about the stereotypical Rastafarian. On the other hand, I was fascinated by Lauren Hills locs and other long ones.

Perhaps what played role in my 'rebellion' was observing the state of my mom's own relaxed hair, but mostly my grandmother’s. I remember, as a child, I would sit and watch my grandmother rub a little bit of natural sheerbutter in hair long natural hair and comb it. It always looked thick and healthy. Then in the eighties her sister convinced her to used hair relaxer... Up to date, although, her hair is still long, the chemicals have taken the health out of it.

Back to me...

May 2009, I thought my hair was natural enough to go to the natural beautician. That was the “radical” thing I have ever done regarding my hair. I asked to get my roots twisted. After she twisted the hair with gel and dried it, the mirror revealed my true self; the shock was like a slap on the face! In the mirror I saw this ugly girl with no hair, but all the girls in salon thought otherwise. They said I have a beautiful face and lovely head. They told me that once my hair has grown I will appreciate the benefit of going natural. I wasn't listening to them. In that moment all I really wanted was to get out of that place. I paid the £40 bill and when out of the shop. Meanwhile I was thinking, how am I going to present myself at work tomorrow. It was during the same period that I read that somewhere in America an African-American woman was fired because she went to work with her natural 'kinky' curls on...

Once out I put the hood of my jumper on and cast my head down.

When I got home I checked out the damage. This is how psychology works. I saw myself ugly, although my face looked younger due to my new hair style, I did not concentrate on that. I was ugly and different, not part of the norm any more. I was the girl with 'bad' hair. That was what my mind was telling me, but my heart was relieved. No more pains, my dept shouted out. Hubby loved it, he played with my hair and kept telling me how beautiful I looked.

The following day I put on the best outfit so the attention was on the clothes and not the hair. But instead everyone was telling me how beautiful and young I looked. They told me “You look so young, your natural twist suit me.
The extensions didn't suit you very much.”

Wow, that was a revelation. This news cheered me up a little, because I never really liked hair exstensions. I kept my locs for the whole summer, but swimming in the unlock locs didn’t make my locs look pretty. Therefore, September I went back to braiding for the rest of the year. At this point in my life I was in the first phase of maturity, I was getting confident in my looks and my hair. I also had a focus - I wanted to get ready to become a healthy-fit-yummy-mummy :)!

Then January 2010 I wrote:

...yesterday I undid my braids and I washed my hair and kept it afro. I love it, but today when I went out I was so self-conscious about my appearance because it was since 1992 that I haven't allowed my hair to be natural. It was my mother's fault because she thought that it was good for me to retouch it with the chemicals. But since June 2009 I have gone back to my natural hair. I'm loving it. I believe that this is good for me because of the absence of chemicals in my hair and through my nose.

This year was the second phase of maturity and I am still discovering myself a little bit more every year. I fully began my journey to locs in Febraury 2010. People told me that to have it long I have to wait about one year. I know the wait is worth it because I am already free to be who I was born to be. My natural self :) I have a unique beauty, not a preconceived beauty :P.

This is my personal hair journey. Every hair choice is personal. I believe that people shouldn't judge other people based on their appearances. The world è bello perchè è vario, the world is beautiful because there are variation of everything: beauty, culture and traditions :).


Guess what?


My mom loves my new hair now :), she says “Your locs are like braids.” I guess, she is reconsidering her attitude towards locs. ;)

I HOPE my children will not stress themselves over their hair as much as I did. They will be born mixed race and I don’t know how their hair will be like, but one thing I am sure of: I will never let hair relaxers touch their hair.

Do you have a hair story to tell? Write a post and link it here. I would love to read more hair stories :).




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3 comments:

  1. Hi! I just wanted to say what a cool, inspiring story this is - and I'm so glad that I stopped by to read it! I've been in a hair "rut" so to speak for a long time - it's long and natural, and I want to change it up but I just don't have the nerve. I think I actually hide behind my hair. Anyway, it was great to read a new perspective! Wishing you all the best :)

    Kristin
    http://www.born2bemom.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for your comment Kristin, I really appreciate it ;).

    ReplyDelete
  3. Standing up and widely clapping for you! What a beautiful journey and thank you for your honest. I believe that no matter what choice a woman makes - natural or permed - as long as she is doing it because that is what she wants, nothing else should matter. I'm glad that you got the courage to do what was right for YOU. I'm glad to hear that mom is coming around too :)

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