I am proudly Capetonian. I am proudly South African. I am proudly African.
I am excited. I am excited to be writing my first blog post. I am excited to be sharing my new journey with you.
All my life I have lived with the complex that I was not good enough. I did well in school. My parents taught us good values; they dressed us well. We had all the best toys and we were allowed to do any extra-mural activity we wanted. I was not too bad at playing the piano and I won a few ballroom competitions. So now, why would I feel that I was not good enough?
I felt that I was not good enough because I had an inferiority complex about my hair. I am almost certain that I was not the only young kid with this complex. In a so-called Coloured community, hair was a big thing. Straight was better. Swirl your hair (wrap your hair with a piece of stocking); straighten your hair; relax that thick, dry, unmanageable hair. As a kid, it was challenging. You could not just go and swim at the beach during PE, as you would not know what to do with your hair for the rest of the school day. I always envied those girls with long hair, those with bangs, those whose hair would blow in the wind and those that could wash and go.
Mum and my aunts would always say that I had such nice hair. What happened?
Fast forward to 2016
This year, I started doing research on various sites regarding natural hair. I was amazed at the amount of information available and realised that there was a natural hair movement that many of us are unaware of. I stopped relaxing my hair about two years ago, but when in became difficult to manage, I started using chemical straighteners to make it more manageable. I washed my hair a lot, as I started running and damaged my hair even further by flat ironing when my hair was already very dry.
The thought of chopping off all my hair, had crossed my mind on numerous occasions. I knew that when my natural hair starting growing, it appeared curly underneath all the chemically straightened hair. The scary part was how I was going to manage with very short hair.
By some miracle, I discovered a product called Aunt Jackie’s which I thought I would try. It seemed that it was not readily available in Cape Town until I was referred to a wholesaler who stocks a wide range of hair products for ethnic hair. I first tried it on my hair as it was. It looked pretty (to me at least). The problem was that I had major breakage at the back of my head which bothered me. I had curls and shiny hair but it felt like a big gaping hole at the back of my head. A week into using Aunt Jackie’s, I decided on the big chop. I was confident that I could manage.
I popped in at a small salon for a dry cut which was inexpensive. I was going to try to do it myself but I was afraid of doing a bad job. I was relieved that the stylist was into natural hair and that she did not try to convince me to relax or straighten instead of cutting it. Normally the stylist would try to convince me to relax or Brazilian my hair. I was scared but convinced myself that a cut was the right thing to do. I am sure my husband was already wondering why I was so late. He is Indian so he does not quite understand my hair type and the challenges that I have with my hair. He agrees and supports me in everything I do (which is a bit scary sometimes as he will not honestly say if a haircut does not suit me). He was not too shocked when I arrived home from work with very short hair.
It is the best thing that I could have done for myself. I feel a sense of freedom and I feel liberated. I am finally okay with my own hair and have set my goal to love and nurture it and with my experience, encourage others to follow.
Until next time.