Journey to Natural
My mother relaxed my hair when I was 6 years old. Every Sunday, for as long as I can remember, she spent her day washing, greasing, combing and braiding my hair. The process took about three hours in total, and she hated every minute of it. So did I. Our relationship took a strain because of it. Every Sunday, my mother would be annoyed with me for about three hours. And during those three hours, I’d love my mother a little less than normal. So it wasn’t a surprise that my mother was over the moon when she found the solution to all our Sunday problems. It came in a little white box with pretty Afro-American girl’s with long and shiny straight hair across the front. ’Just for Me’ it was called.
My mother did not know that the miracle product she was putting in my hair was a dangerous chemical that causes problems such as hair breakage, hair thinning, lack of hair growth, scalp irritation, scalp damage and hair loss to name a few. A powerful process in which the very chemical makeup of my curls were being transformed into something different. Something un-natural.
After using for many many years I got to the point where I was tired of the destructive cycle that relaxing brought with it. It felt to me a false sense of reality when the happiness I felt over my newly relaxed, soft hair quickly turned sour a few months later when my thin, over processed hair wasn’t so soft and shiny anymore. My edges felt burned to the touch. They broke off. I didn’t realise then that burnt was exactly what they were. One day, after a particularly bad cycle, I looked myself in the eye and asked: what the hell was I doing? Why was I causing myself so much damage? Why couldn’t I be happy with the natural state of my hair? Didn’t loving oneself mean loving and accepting all parts of oneself? I decided it did. And just like that, I was done
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