So this is my first post!
and what am I doing here?
Here’s my story!
I’m Emily, a 14 y/o girl from South Africa and I’m also a naturalle.
It started in 2012 when I had become completely fed up of what had once been long, fairly healthy hair turned into uneven, damaged hair. I was miserable with how ugly my hair had now become, it honestly looked terrible and I now had a tiny ponytail (eek). I had seen quite a number of naturalles in my life and thought of how long their hair would be if they relaxed it, but they didn’t relax it and I knew that was a reason to why their hair was so long and I told my mum I would no longer relax my hair.
From then onwards I would do a blow out, but I didn’t know that the same product, used for relaxing, was put in my hair only for a shorter amount of time until around August of 2013 when my stylist relaxed my hair. Words can not explain how disappointed I was, my hair was beginning to grow.
I HAD NOW HAD ENOUGH!!
I began doing my research on all the ways I could go natural without doing a big chop and found many, the first thing I did was get twist braids as this was something I was familiar with. After reading about lots of women’s experiences and learning more about products, I bought myself hair products and soon after unplaiting, washed and air-dryed my hair. This turned out well, and I attempted to do two-strand twists but they never worked – what I never knew was that I’d need a product to help it stick together lol. My hair was now falling out tremendously and seemed to be shrinking. I was still too scared to cut my hair and so just did the twist braids again! After unplaiting, I was reminded of how horrible my hair was and was aching to get it off my head. I discussed it with my parents and had my Grandma take me to the salon to get it cut, but there was no way I was going to school with short African hair. I cut my hair and did my twist braids AGAIN (March 2014).
Now I was doing more research on how to style my hair and maintain it, but I also came across something else, the hair typing system! >.<
I knew what my natural hair looked like as I had growth when I attempted to transition and always loomed at the way it curled. The closest description to my hair type was of 4a but when I Googled this hair type there were many pictures that didn’t look like MY hair. So I Googled how to make my hair look like the type 4a hair, even type 3c and this really wasnt a good thing for me to be doing. I let go of trying to make my hair look like type 4a and 3c as I did not have the products and would have to buy them online as SA doesn’t have a big naturals market. It is common, ladies here are wearing brazilian weaves! It’s crazy.
Anywho, I went on holiday and a day before school (3 May 2014) I decided I was going to take my braids off (they were old) but I was so scared to be going with my 4-inch mini fro and again Googled how not to make it look like the typical African hair type. I couldn’t find much and so just twisted my hair and then untwisted it but I wasnt satisfied with it and so just combed it out. I didn’t really get the remarks I expected but I did get many compliments and many questions such as ” Did u comb your hair?” , “Why would you cut your hair?”, “Are you getting dreadlocks?”. This went on the entire week.
Thing finally settled down but I still continued to get asked, “Are you mixed race? Your hair looks like a mixed person’s hair, except more kinky.” , “Why’s your hair so curly?” , “Did you comb your hair?” and people telling me, “You’re supposed to comb your hair with an afro comb.” and “You should blowdry your hair.”
Eventually people shut their mouths and my friends wanted to touch my hair and would ask, “How did you get it to be so soft?” , “It doesn’t get tangled?”
All these comments, commands and questions really amused me and it made me so sad to know how little we actually know about our hair.
Read the rest of my story in my next article.
And sorry it’s so long, lol. Thank you for reading.
– Emily xo.