Disclaimer: Gentlemen, this might get a tad “technical” for you but if you care to be prepared incase a girl comes to the great choice between straight and curly: proceed!
The much argued over “N” word is now an everyday buzzword for me. Yep! I made the switch from straight to curly and I am loving it!
No this is not one of those , “Fighting for the misunderstood natural-headed girl” tirades. Far from it. It’s a personal victory piece, with yours truly as victor(-ria?) 😉
See I am one of those girls who lived most of her childhood and early adult life by the power of a blow-drier or hair drier for those so inclined, whenever I needed my hair “appropriately” straight for occasions like Church (according to my mother), parties and job interviews. I would look longingly at girls with dreadlocks and short curly hair with such sadness I’m sure I must have creeped out the poor lasses. When I did eventually use chemicals to straighten out my hair, locally familiar as “perming”, I was excited for all of a year before I realized I missed my natural, stress-free head! The rules outnumber the 10-commandments and doesn’t God say He gives us everything we need for life and godliness? Well, for all ya’ll still sporting sleek, glossy tresses courtesy of Dark and Lovely, Motions or whatever other relaxers exist, you identify with the:
- Every two week treatment regime
- Every six month (less or more depending on your hairdresser’s need for that extra 1500) “re-touch”
- Every bi-monthly or so hot oil treatment
- Every conditioning when you go swimming
- Every morning application of either/and or polisher, sheen spray, hair lotion/pink lotion/moisturizing lotion
- Every bi-monthly or so (depending on your speed of hair-growth) choice between a weave, wig or braid to protect your growth in that un-manageable state between new natural hair and old relaxed hair.
I could go on with mentions of tongs, flat irons and the like but by now it’s clear it’s quite a task(at least it was for me) to maintain my “perm”. I would forget my re-touches until my salonist would call me exasperatedly asking me if I still had anything worth calling hair on my head. I would take a peek in the mirror and retort with a “What do you think is keeping the braids up?” shot. Pat, myself on the back and keep going strong into month two with my beloved plaits! I do believe there are people in my campus years who swear they never saw my real hair because I kept it in twists or three-strand plaits all year round. Ahh, the joys of being a student =)
Well fast forward to a crazy scheduled life with narry a second to spend the at least, note, at least, four hours at the salon and you can guess the frustration I experienced. At this one time I had a job that had me living out of a bag because of all the travel so the state of my hair(well concealed under, yeah, you guessed right…my trusty braids) was appalling! Enough times I threatened my hairdresser with talk of chopping it all off and the look on his face was enough to cow me into sitting meekly as he washed, “moussed”, set and sprayed my hair into submission, all the while reminding me how much time, energy and love, yes, love, I know, he had put into nurturing it! I don’t deny that the outcome was never disappointing but the time!! And then the migraines begun because of all the heat-treatment from the irons/tongs/curlers/driers, I simply could not do it any more!
Come 2011 and I got tired of a lot of things. Those will constitute another piece but the best thing I know I did was grow out my “perm”. I can be spotted traipsing carefree along Nairobi’s streets with my baby-‘fro’. It’s only three months old but I can’t get enough of it. I won’t deny that it does require maintenance that almost equals that of straightened hair but the best part is, aside from the odd weekend or two, I get to manage it all on my own! With the right products and awesome advice from those who have gone before me, I have not experienced such freedom.
I actually experience the world in a different way. People look at me with all manner of expression, both people I know and those I don’t. When I’m all kitted out for work, comments like, “I want to work there, how do you sport a ‘fro all week?” or all manner of humans wanting to run their fingers through it to determine whether it’s really my hair or “Is it as soft as it looks?” (hehe the pseudo-narcissist typed that last bit). At a friend’s place in the morning, her dad looks at me, then turns to her and asks, “Did your friend forget to comb” and then asking if I was growing it into dreads which he seemed to be more at ease with instead of this half-grown-half-curled do I’ve been pinning to one side. We had a good laugh about it! Then my parents, with whom I do not reside, and who therefore get to see me after a month of Sundays, they saw, pondered and pondered some more. It’s some kind of awesome to stump my mother for those of you that may know or know of her 😉 Oh and the boys. Well, let’s just say there are those that like it and those that do not, and that, my friends, is just as it should be =)
Well good or bad, I am in a very happy place with my hair and intend to be for yet a good while.
To natural hair and natural haired girls: Rock that Curl/Lock!!