As a child, my mother kept my hair in its natural state. My younger sister and I have soft curly hair and so our manes were easier to handle. We only got our hair completely straightened for special occasions. Mum will take us to this lady who stretched our hair with a hot comb and tongs heated up on a little iron stove. I loved having my hair straight. Straight hair, however, didn’t last more than a few days and that was it.
Hair in it’s natural state had two types of reactions – lovely or is your hair due (to be relaxed)? I got asked the ‘is your hair due’ question by a few boys in secondary school. By the time I was 20, I felt ready to join the ‘relaxed hair’ club (now I realise I did not need to fit in). I remember the day I went to get this done, the hairdresser was upset as my hair was still curly after processing it. She could not understand why, aunty Sola (the hairdresser) seemed somewhat cross.
I loved my new look. To be honest though, I loved my hair in its natural state and I would wet it ever so often to get that curly look. My mane was long, full, beautiful. I totally loved it. I mostly wore it in a bun. Straight hair was what I saw around, what most women had, what seemed normal to have. I somehow feel like this was more as a result of not knowing how to effectively manage natural hair.
In 2011, a friend told me about keratin treatment and how it would keep hair straight for a long period. I decided to try it. The smell was horrible and I had to keep it in for some days. Sigh. Once washed out, my hair was straight but it was no longer as full. I was unhappy with my hair.
In 2012, I decided I was going chemical free. No more chemicals to straighten my hair. I started transitioning. Not long after I made the ‘chemical free’ decision, I found out I was pregnant and that was it, my mind was made up. I transitioned through pregnancy with two hair textures, deep conditioning every time I washed my hair.
In 2013, my friend Toks came to see me. I loved her twists and asked where she had them done. She referred me and on one fateful day, I went to the salon. Dupe attended to me and somehow convinced me that the twists won’t be nice unless I cut off the relaxed ends (this was half of my hair). I said okay and that was it. She chopped the hair off and twisted my hair wet. I hated it. I was upset, I called Mosebolatan who helped me through that style and many more to come. From them on, I kept on grooming my hair. I finally went to Dupe but I only ever did dry twists.
My hair was unruly by the standards of those who love straight hair but I kept at it. It’s been 7 years now and I am happy I made the ‘chemical free’ decision. I have grown to love my mane. I do not need to try and fit in or look like others (I did this with straight hair).
I am finally embracing me, appreciating God’s gift, His Love. This is me being me, accepting me. I can now walk about confidently with threaded hair, a big afro or a massive bun. THIS IS LOLA. I have found me through my hair.
Disclaimer: This post is not a commentary on the politics of hair and how to maintain it. It is my personal hair journey and everyone is entitled to theirs.