existing in or derived from nature; not made or caused by humankind.eg.”carrots contain a natural antiseptic’
My earliest memory of hating my natural hair was well…there are a few. One that stands out was a boy who I really liked & when he saw me wash my hair he commented that ‘wow, it actually moves’. I was shook. The earth could’ve opened and swallowed me right there and then. The second would be swimming. I remember that I would have conditioner and hair band ready right after my swim because I would go all “mufasa’ and it wasn’t pretty. I felt less than/uglier than my friends with good hair and any excuse not to swim at school I would eventually make. I am not sure when exactly I found out but I always knew I had bad hair as if it were some illness. So I made sure I did everything to make myself ‘beautiful’ aka straighten my hair.
I’ve been toying with the idea of going natural since the end of last year, trying to embrace ‘the wet look’ as much as I could, especially on holiday in December. I could count the blow dries I had on one hand. Trying flexi rod or roller sets was the vibe. If you are on serious stalker levels (its okay we love the stalkers too) you would have noticed a trend on my Instagram. I had made the decision to go natural after a naturals event that ‘this is it, I am doing this 100%’ all in.
I dreaded the big chop so I flaked and put in braids which I fell inlove with and kept for 2 months straight. They held really well & my hair actually grew a lot with little to no breakage. Besides the zero work I had to do with my hair I loved the consistent unjani sisi? So I would get them with Ngisaqala ukufunda isiZulu. Yaaaas shine inner black girl shine. I felt beautiful, accepted. Cut to the great DEbraid (this deserves a post all on its own). I could not stand my natural hair. I hated my appearance, I could stand to look at myself, somedays…I still cant. I was revolted, disgusted at my appearance. At me, the person who is supposed to love me the most, I rejected myself. All the years of a pseudo acceptance of myself with hair that was relaxed, brazilianed, GHD’ed until it stripped away every ounce of my curl, I was finally confronted with ‘the real me’. And flip, I was NOT impressed.
I refused to take any photos of myself (still do) refused to go anywhere. Why did no one tell me I could potentially completely hate myself? I just needed someone to tell me… ‘You are going to cry and reject your hair, but that’s okay, just hold on’ which I probably wouldn’t have believed anyway but that’s not the point. Wisaal and Danni (my hair goals baes) really try to motivate me and tell me ‘my curls are waiting for me’ but honestly it’s like Beyonce telling you ‘don’t worry you’re really pretty too’ yeah you just don’t believe them.
This natural hair journey thing has actually become so ridiculous somedays (like yesterday for example) that I got so annoyed with my straight ends I just cut them off into a fringe. Yip, I, me, Bronwyn who knows absolutely nothing about hair just nje cut her hair off out of pure frustration. Side bar: its up in a half up half down bun situation today because of my mini breakdown yesterday. At this point I don’t know how long I’ll be able to hold on between the dry and thick boskop on my head I may just give up all hope of my Fro girl dreams.
I do however know, I will not put my future baby girls through this. They will grow up woke, they will grow up with a broader sense of what beautiful means. They will not hate their appearance. Straight hair and skinny bodies will not be the only option. They will love their themselves, whatever naturalness God gives them, big lips, broad hips, kinky hair, alles.
Jill, a friend shared something that really stuck with me after my hair rant on Instagram. Her daughter has very fine, very straight hair, she will never know the struggle some coloured or blacks girls face. Nonetheless Jill went out and bought her daughter a black doll with the biggest and baddest type 4C afro. She told me my rant had inspired her to not allow her daughter to grow up thinking there is only one standard of beauty. That really resonated with me. Call me dramatic if you must but this is my reality, these are my mental scars. If only more coloured parents did this with their kids growing up, I would not have been hair shamed or bullied for my undesirable texture all the way up until university where ignorant gladde hare girls would throw verbal jabs like kroeskop.
~Do not give it to your children the thing that was given to you ~