I’ll be honest. I did not start this to make a statement. I wish I could say I woke up one day, dreamed of mother Africa with afro picks and clinched fists, then chopped that shit off; but nah. This was me being lazy and not realising I had braids in longer than my creme hair could cry “WTF!”
My first brush with natural hair was possibly ’07 when I told mom, “braid me, woman”, to combat the need to actually take care of my hair when stressed. Every 3 months or so I’d swap long braids for shorts braids, short for medium and really whatever else my weird ass could think up.
Moving down to ’09 and, “Omg I got into University”, already forming ideas about how hot I’m gonna look and… Cue suspense music as I finally took a look at my hair and thought… Uuuhh where’s my cream hair?
See I had the braids interchanging so long that I really just grew out all the relaxed hair. I was all natural with no idea how I got there. I think I handled that discovery well actually (as well as impromptu natural hair could get you) and made plans to try being natural for a bit. Keyword: a bit.
So I chopped off what little relaxed ends were left and promptly put my hair back in braids. Yea my sense of styling was lost then, but I just took mom’s advice and kept it protected till i figured out “what’s up”.
Fast forward to a few more months and I was being identified as the chick with braids in class. Hey, I got that shit so locked that lecturers forfeit using my name, and just knew saying the word “braids” was as good as any to signal they needed me.
Joke was on everyone though, because I felt so ready to pop dem braids and “Herbal Essence Swing It” into action. Finally taking the time to read up on natural hair and moving beyond old school “gel and press” made me want to try and embrace me.
So one colour and a big reveal later, I had hair big, rich and puffy to grace any hair magazine. If I had to be sexy about it.
However, with puffy hair comes great responsibility and I fell victim to the great enemy that is Neglect. All of that up there was reduced to an inch, or two, of hair with no one but myself to blame… Well actually I blamed everything, but I’m supposedly grown right now and won’t cry as much if admit I was lazy about it.
So I reduced myself to a teeny weeny afro (TWA) and now had to learn natural hair like I just did a Big Buzz (BB). Yep yep, don’t judge me. I figured going back to braids was a good bet since that’s how I got my sexy luscious right? Wrong!
Without proper moisture and maintenance, you’re just asking for your hair to commit suicide. Suicide called “More Broke Ends” and, combo breaker, receding hairline. Oh ho I learnt my lesson quickly after that.
Going further down the timeline now and, reasonable size “trials and errors” later, I’m getting my baby back to glory. No colour this time, I trimmed off what I could, stocked up on products, went on hands and knees for mama’s help and started to work a fro again.
My baby even changed on me. Shrinking almost 60% to my scalp! With no manual on that new change, I managed my doubts then as best as I could and worked with my baby through her first teen years.
Thing is though, there was a reason why I needed those braids in the first place. Once stress kicked in, and I saw the dreaded hair suicide waiting at the corner, I made sure to stock up on antidepressants to keep it at bay; and it worked for a while too. Plus to add my salt to that wound, my hair guru (mommy) up and gone on vacation.
You must be thinking what I’m thinking. “Damn, how yu no look like Naomi “Pick Out Hair” Campbell yet?”
I honestly wonder why I didn’t then too, but I sat and relearnt. I learnt less intrusive styling and more acceptance of self-styling. Moisture, Plaits at night and NO MORE BRAIDS. Well, not AS much braids.
Anyhoo, push pass more braids, another colour, some texturizer and a Real BB in my more closer millenia, my “For a Bit” hairstyle had become my everything look in showcasing me. I won’t say I’m not disappointed that in 6 yrs my hair didn’t do what I’d liked it to do, but damn, can I tell you I’m enjoying the ride.
This is me 2 months into last BB.