My natural hair journey started in March 2017.
Around this time, my partner went away for 3 months and I suddenly found myself not feeling the need to blow-dry and straighten my hair. In short, I let myself go. At this point, I wasn’t really aware of the natural hair movement however, something sent me to YouTube to look up ways to help my hair grow faster. Keep in mind that up until March 2017, I religiously relaxed my hair since the age of 4 or 5 and then throughout my teenage years. YouTube opened my eyes to a whole new world of being “natural”. I was instantly intrigued by curly heads from around the world. I’ve seen some roaming the streets in Cape Town too but never paid them any mind. Deep down, I thought they looked kinda cool looking so carefree but never felt the need to have curly hair. This longing to return to natural manifested in my mind and laid on my heart. One could say that it felt like a spark building up into this huge bonfire that would some months later explode and trigger a BIG CHOP!
Between March and November, I did not blow-dry my hair. New growth started to form at my roots and then fell straight right to the ends. Needless to say, this irritated the heck out of me and leading up to November I started becoming restless and impatient with my transition. Bantu knots weren’t doing it for me anymore. The more I watched the videos, the more I wanted curls and the more I wanted to be free of the dead weight hanging from my head. During these months I also discovered the Cape Town Naturally Support Group on Facebook. This made my anxiety about my hair even worse. Everyone was sporting gorgeous afros, curls were popping in every direction and it just made me yearn for good hair again. Finally, the 9th of November 2017 arrived. I can remember waking up and not feeling too good about myself. Whilst getting freshened up for the day I had flashbacks of past failures, weak moments, moments of rejection and hurt. I thought about the abuse I endured but then I also thought about how I rose above all of that. Those thoughts festered and became more intense throughout the day and I thought about what a friend used to say about how a woman’s hair is at the centre of her emotions and how changing your hairstyle or its colour brings forth new life and makes you feel better and I immediately decided that today was the day. I set off to work but believe me when I tell you that I couldn’t wait to get home (to catch on nonsense with me hair yes, LOL).
Now, I’ve had hair cuts in the past but I’ve NEVER cut everything off. The thought of it was exhilarating but at the same time extremely nerve-wracking! Like, what would my partner think of me with short hair? Would he still want to be with me with all my hair gone? Would people like it? Would I be laughed at? Would people think I’m crazy??? Even with all these thoughts and scissors in hand, I soldiered on. Cutting away every lifeless strand that hindered growth. Cutting away the years of chemically straightened hair because “straight hair was beautiful”. I was cutting away at all the things that kept me in my comfort zones, cutting away at all the hurt and muck that left me feeling unworthy and unpretty. I literally said “voetsek” to all of it.
The most amazing picture of that day was seeing how my curls sprang to life when all the chemicals were cut away. Touching and twirling them I cried and I laughed at the same time. I remember telling myself “you hella crazy” and just laughed some more. The feeling of seeing your curls for the first time is priceless. I could never go back to that life of straightening and blow-drying hair until my arms feel like they want to fall off. These almost two years of returning to natural have been the most awesome hair years I’ve ever had!
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