It’s been a… turbulent time.
“In Tulsa, a girl would no sooner have run around with unstraightened hair than she would have run around naked. It would have been worse than running around naked, letting everyone see your naps (40).”― Martha Southgate, Third Girl from the Left
It’s been 4 years since I cut my hair and spent a good portion of 2016 looking like Aunt Edna.
Yes, it was a phase, it’s behind us now.
It was a time when more and more black girls were “going natural” or “returning” , more like, and I thought that was what I had to do as well. It’s a political statement to wear such coily, kinky hair and when you make the decision to cut your “lovely”, long, straight hair off, a lot of people have things to say about that.
I have learned a lot from having natural hair and as of last weekend, I am learning even more. For instance, I’ve learned that I am not one of those coily-headed Youtubers who get perfect hairstyles everytime and I have no desire to be.
WARNING: Cringey pictures ahead. Please like this post because it took a lot to dig up these horrendous photos.
I don’t know what possessed me to whittle my brows down to toothpicks in 2016 but there you have it.
I was so obsessed with type 3c hair right before I transitioned and I was even like googling how to get my hair to be type 3c specifically. It’s not enough that, before, I actually wanted to be white; the self-hate was astounding.
And while I do not need to say it, you should know that if you are 100% black it is very unlikely that you’ll end up with 3c hair. Unless you’re like Ethiopian or something.
So I cut my hair. It was about shoulder length at the time and it never really grew beyond that as far as I can remember. What I do remember is the exact reason I cut my hair. I didn’t even cut all the relaxed bits off, I was so sick of the heat that I thought it was finally time to cut it. I was so impatient to begin being natural but I wasn’t ready to jump into it, so I dipped my toes in first.
I was quite disappointed that when my hair started transitioning it was tight coils I had and not the loose bouncy ones like Yara Shannoying and basically every other mixed person.
When my hair grew out some more and I was already eyeballs-deep in the resentment that comes with having two vastly different textures on. your head. I cut off all the relaxed bits and started growing my little fro.
I don’t know why I’m sat on a table though, I think I was trying to be an influencer or something.
Anyway, my hair was way too short to do anything with but I couldn’t just leave it looking all scruffy and whatever. Even when I left my hair out in a TWA, I had no idea how to make it look, do I fluff it out and let it look a little wild or do I pat it into some weird, mango-like shape?
I also spent a lot of time looking at Pinterest pictures of black girls with long 4c hair and watching YouTube videos on how to make my hair grow fast.
Spoiler alert: 4c hair will only grow if she feels like it.
This is how I wore my hair for my US visa picture.
It was supposed to be a twist out but it wasn’t very defined. To be honest, I’ve probably HATED over half of all the twist outs I’ve ever done. And I’ve done a lot of twist outs. By 2018, I was pretty comfortable with twist outs and my mother practically begging me to comb my hair because she never really liked them and my dad constantly calling my hair a “nest”.
Yeah, the trauma.
I don’t know if I would say I was having fun with my hair though. I still desperately wanted it to be long and I was struggling to do protective styles by myself.
Honestly, wash day is a process.
I was also just struggling to enjoy my hair, to match my hair with my wardrobe and to feel feminine and beautiful and all that sappy stuff that we all discard because we are all too aware of how important they are.
The funny thing about this picture is that I honestly thought my skin was terrible without obviously being aware of the shit storm that would come just a year later.
This was probably the best twist out I had done at the time. It took me HOURS because of how tiny I had done them but it was soo worth it.
I never use heat on my hair, like never. I only ever use heat when I get my hair done in a hair salon and the stylist stretches out my hair to braid it. So I used heat once in 2019, for real. I don’t even own a hair dryer.
I do own a hair straightener though, those wigs won’t style themselves.
If I did stretch out my hair with heat I’d be able to tell you exactly how long it is now but it is definitely past shoulder-length. Probably even shoulder blade.
It took me three for four years to enjoy my hair, to say that I love my hair and respect it, since the rest of the world won’t. Whenever I have my hair in a protective style for a long time, I start to miss her; my big fluffy fro, who is always trying to choke me in the summer.
If you have thick hair, you know what I’m talking about.
I still struggle though. I have been dealing with excessive shedding and hair loss, despite how much my hair’s grown. The most recent lesson I’ve learned? Sometimes, the long way is the only way. So I sit down until my tailbone’s sore and I braid or twist my hair, I detanlge it even when it’s 3 a.m and my scalp is sore. I just do what needs to be done because healthy hair is the goal and the two things you need to get that is patience and self-love.
On good thing about being in quarantine is that I can spend more time obsessing over this hair because, I mean look at her, she’s gorgeous!