Growth: 6 months’ worth
I have folders on my computer with photos of my hair month by month. The folder for month 3 doesn’t exist. Even just finding the one photo I’m including in this post was quite a mission. This, by far was the worst month in my hair story.
By the end of July 2011, I was so excited because I was going home to Tanzania (which we lovingly refer to as TZ) and meet my new niece. I hadn’t been home in more than six months and many people back home didn’t know I’d gone natural. It wasn’t something I felt the need to announce. I’d had the short fro for just over 2 months and was feeling confident, different and new. I was buzzing with excitement but little did I know that when I checked in at the airport that I was also leaving behind my confidence.
I’d gained a few kilos while I was here and some people weren’t shy to point that out. And coupled with my new hair do, my new ‘look’ wasn’t met by many positive reactions. I wasn’t there for more than a few days before I started feeling ugly, overweight and very insecure. People knew me as a relaxed or weaved girl, but there I was with a freshly chopped afro and a curvier body. I hadn’t minded it at all while I was in Jozi, but it seemed to be the thing others really focused on and pointed out. I was at a family gathering halfway into my trip and besides my weight gain, there was nothing I was spoken to about. I kept trying to remember why I went natural and that I’m still at the beginning of my journey and once it grows out I’ll look prettier. Before I left Joburg, I’d planned to get a weave or braids while in TZ as a protective style since it was winter here. But by the second week, that idea was out of the window. I went and got a weave to feel exactly how I ended up feeling afterwards: pretty, attractive and girly again. I instantly noticed the difference in people’s reactions and for that little while, I was relieved and felt confident again.
I hardly wrote on my blog, partially because I was trying to enjoy being home, but mostly because I didn’t really have much to say. I didn’t like my hair. And by then it was clear that my hair’s curls weren’t soft and bouncy like I’d seen in some YouTube videos. It was dense and very tightly coiled and I wasn’t sure how to deal with it anymore. So unlike the previous months, the 27th of August (3 month anniversary) almost went by me and I wrote this heartfelt review.
” ‘What did you do to your hair now? I preferred it much more when it was
short’…ummm…make up your mind! No, let me make up my mind…I
really want and need to get to a place where I know that no matter how I
wear my hair, I’m me. Hair or no hair, natural or not, I’m me and the
people in my life should love me regardless. And I should feel pretty
This is one of the only photos I have of myself in month 3, and it was with the weave. Although the weave was put on out of sadness and insecurity, it did help me get through the next few weeks since I wasn’t ready to face my little fro again. I have nothing against weaves, I think they’re a great protective style and way to give yourself and your hair a break. If taken care of properly, a weave can do wonders for your hair and you’ll notice the growth even more once you take it out. I was just sad when I came back to Jozi and realised I’d let other people’s opinions affect me and my confidence so much. It also opened my eyes to people’s obsession with hair and how it can define how attractive people think you are.
There are always going to be people who don’t like the way I dress, talk, behave or look. Even when I was relaxed and rocked weaves, I still had nay-sayers but I kept moving. So the way they react to me now I have an afro shouldn’t matter as much, as long as I’m okay with it. It was a lesson learned. A hard one but I know now.
Next timeline post: Being Natural – 4 Months In