My initial decision to go natural was far from spontaneous. In the small hair salon shop at the beginning of Obadiah streets in Portharcourt.
I watched as my hairdresser Aunty Mfon, combed through my hair and complained bitterly of how bad it had become. Now aunty Mfon had been my hairdresser for at least 10 years at the time she had known my hair in an out, it was like her little baby.
So as she continued to complain I asked her what can we do to fix this? She said, let’s not touch your hair for the next six months and just see what happens.
And so it was, when I made the decision to not relax my hair for six months, I was in my second year in university.
My hair began to develop undergrowth, it was slowly shrinking in length and coiling up. Let’s just say I begun the transition process without even thinking it.
When people would ask what the plan for my hair was, I would say I didn’t know, I’m just seeing how things go. I remember having a conversation with my roommates and I promised her that at the sixth month I would revaluate and make a decision to either chop it off and start natural hair or relax my hair.
At the sixth month I decided that I wanted to go natural, I had fallen in love with seeing people with nice Afros, and curly hair. So I did my big chop, well it wasn’t so big, because I just chopped off the parts that were still relaxed, which were my ends, then I leveled the hair a bit.
I chopped my hair off, so began the life of spray bottles, coconut oils, Bantu knots, Afro combs, YouTube videos. I described my hair journey as exciting, but truth is it paled in comparison to the satisfaction I derived from nurturing and caring for my hair.
From the Bantu knots stage, to the cute little two plaits, and then the high buns, then when we got to a certain length, there was twist outs. Every other week I’ll give my hair a new style. The 2 hours wash day and myriad of products, weren’t an issue at all.
So now the question, if I enjoyed it this much, why did I do it?
Well it was simple, I no longer had the time to care for her in the way she deserved. These days I hardly oiled her or combed her, I couldn’t give all that attention I was giving to her in the past, and that in turn affected her drastically, because she was breaking out, losing length, far from healthy.
It’s the thing with people we love, sometimes our over attachment to the history we share with something or someone, robs us off clarity. We focus on how we were treated in the past in a bid to escape the current unpleasant situations. However difficult as this will sound, when you find that history outweighs your present, then it’s time to move on. That’s how I knew it was time for me to move on, I had to understand that by holding on to something that was long gone, I was hurting myself and my hair. It wasn’t good for either of us.
When you find that history outweighs your present, then it’s time to move on.
I also wanted something different. I wanted to make more styles of hair and have them last longer than 3 weeks. I wanted to try out new things. Maybe this is my version of when someone break’s your heart, cut your hair, do something drastic to reinvent yourself, or maybe it was really just time…..
So what started as a “let’s see where this goes” in 2015, ended with an “I did it” in 2022. After I relaxed my hair I went out and saw a lady with her natural bun beautifully parked, with the curly tips, and nice baby hair, the whole shebang. I almost shed a tear, in the realization that I may not have that anymore, but I also asked myself when last I had worn my hair like that, I couldn’t answer that question, because quite frankly I hadn’t been doing that. So Why feel sorry now.
As they washed the relaxer off my hair, I couldn’t help but think? Is this it? My 6 years are gone? Did I make a mistake? Panic panic panic was the order of the day, scrolling through Instagram and thinking so I’ll never wear my Afro out like these girls anymore….
The only regrets I have are not loccing my hair before I went back to relaxed hair. Regardless I’m looking forward to this new phase, looking to try out more hairstyles.
Please accept this as my apology to everyone who was invested in this journey for the past 6 years. Also to those I influenced to go natural, it’s still the best decision I made, and I hope you recognize that everytime you stare at your curls in the mirror.