IN MY TIME

I’ve taken some time recently to think about what my hair means to me, if anything. Especially since my transition to natural short hair, I’ve gotten a number of interesting questions and responses to this change. I’ve found that I have not been attached to my hair at any point I can remember in this lifetime. My hair, like my clothes, has always been something within my control that I can choose to style in whatever ways I’m curious to. While I’ve mostly received positive feedback from this, I have received some questions that assume an (my) attachment to the length, straight nature or projected expectations of a beauty standard I don’t care for.

It’s been interesting to note that the length of my hair has mattered more to people than its straightness, or lack thereof. I suppose this can be attributed to the natural hair movement that’s been all the rage for a couple of years now. Both now and when I got a blunt cut on my texturised hair in 2018, I was met with several Coco Chanel quotes about how this was a signifier that I was about to change my life. Honestly, this has made me think seriously about what surrounding events might have triggered the cuts but I’m certain now that my journey with my hair has almost exclusively been a journey of experimentation. Experimentation that I have indulged and explored with my twin sister, Sharon’s guidance and my nearly lifelong hairdresser, James.

So far, my natural hair has been the most distinct journey. It’s been almost 8 months since I had my big chop and I’ve been a lot more interested in my hair than ever before. I haven’t worn my hair in its natural state since about seven years old and so, outside pictures and stories about what it was like, I have no recollection of what it looked or felt like. It has almost felt like inhabiting a new body. On my very first wash day, I remember following a wash and go tutorial on Youtube step by step with the expectation that my hair and the naturalista’s would turn out the same. You won’t believe the shock I was met with when this didn’t happen despite my confidence that our hair texture was similar enough. This has led to in depth and meaningful conversations around texturism and the expectations we have around our hair and what is deemed a desirable curl pattern. Conversations that have helped me discover and question things I haven’t had to personally before.

My time with my natural hair has been eventful, beautiful and incredibly intuitive. I’m a lot more laissez- faire about how I’d like my hair to look. I’ve also learnt to be a much keener listener to my hair’s needs – I now have a better grasp of the different states my hair can exist in and what these mean. Because of this, I’ve found my natural hair experience, a grounding experience. It has forced me to be more deliberate and present in my body in order to take better care of myself, my hair, my skin, my mind and heart. I also surprisingly enjoy my wash days a lot more now than I did during my initial first attempts washing my texturised hair. It’s been an indulgent activity that I’ve now gotten the hang of and am currently doing some experimenting when it comes to styling.

To sum it up, my natural hair experience, thus far, has been expansive. I am enjoying the continuous journey of discovery it has brought my way and the affirmation of my freedom to create/ find beauty outside what is expected/ required.

I’d love to hear about your journey with your own hair. What has it been like? How do you wear your hair? Is your hair an important definer of your self and does that affect how you wear it then?

9 Comments

  1. My hair journey has been long and arduous. Of late, I’ve been considering shaving my hair, but I’m scared that my petit frame coupled with my short hair will breed insecurity in as far as my femininity is concerned 🤣

    How I wear my hair: mostly in braids (specifically fluffy kinky), in twists, and *very rarely* in a twist out/braid out.

    Is my hair an important definer of myself and does that affect how I wear it? Definitely. My hair is a defining mark of how I express my femininity.

    P.s. Love all your blog entries 😍

    Like

    1. I really think you’d look great, different but I still think it would be such a cool change!

      Is that connection between the length of your hair and your femininity something you want to maintain?

      Aah I love all the ways you style your hair. They feel very distinctly you.

      Aah okay. Is your feminity defined by a particular way your hair looks or something that ebs and flows based on how you’d like to express it?

      Thank you so much for taking time to respond. Thank youu. 🥰🥰

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I think it would be a really cool change as well. I’ve even started watching videos on YouTube to psych myself up 😅

    The connection between the length of my hair and my femininity is definitely not something I want to maintain! I see how absurd it is. And how “unfeminist” it is. So I am trying to get over it. Oh and let me clarify: I don’t believe that short hair takes away from someone’s feminity, it’s a very personal thing to me and my relationship with my hair. I don’t think other women with short hair are necessarily un-feminine

    And to answer your que: the former. My femininity is *partly* (because, truth be told, there are a lot of facets that contribute to femininity) hinged on how it looks. But again, this is something I want to change. If I choose not to cut my hair, it shouldn’t be because of the fear that I’ll look less feminine 🤦🏾‍♀️

    😊😍

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aah there’s no pressure to rush yourself to get there. Your fear and hesitation is very valid because it is a big change and you have had an extensive journey with the hair you currently nurture on your head.

      It’s not absurd or unfeminist at all actually, I think. I think feminism is a process of learning and unlearning and so, we are bound to struggle with our internalized beauty standards and society’s expectation of what is feminine/ woman. That’s okay and I completely understand how all the facets of what is considered feminine and whether those things are things you want to uphold is complex and doesn’t just immediately translate from what you theoretically believe to what you’d like to practice. There’s so much space for you to make these decisions in time when you’re ready.

      Thank you so much for engaging me. ♥️

      Liked by 1 person

  3. ❤️❤️ love this . I’ve really enjoyed watching you experience your fro and be excited like I was (and in many ways , still am) about natural hair .

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I would cut my hair OFF in a Heartbeat if I could attach braids to my scalp.
    I love how shaved heads look.
    I never really watched naturalista videos on YouTube mostly because for a long time 4c hair representation was either very minimal or was just ways to manipulate your hair to look like other curl patterns.
    It’s been 5 years since I went natural and I’ve never had a successful twist out and while that made me feel like a fake natural for a while now I’m okay with that. I know what works for my hair in terms of styling.

    Here are a few things I picked up

    My hair easily breaks so the less manipulation the better. Coarse braiding hair gives me knots in my strands and terrible split ends.
    Conditioner and creamy moisturizers work better with my hair as opposed to grease and oils
    My edges don’t want to be laid no amount of gel or wax helps.
    Also just genetics matters in hair type length etc
    These are things I learnt by listening to my hair rather than copy pasting someone else’s routine of what is supposed to be done.

    The videos I do enjoy watching are product reviews or trying different hairstyles

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m ready for shaved head Lou! I too love how they look. 😍

      Maybe what we need to find is a good braided wig! 😂 Will that count?

      Wow, 5 years does sound like a while & I’m so delighted to hear that there’s more clarity about your particular hair and not what the naturalista community depicts as how your hair ‘should’ behave.

      Thank you for sharing the things you’ve learned. I completely relate to the point on edges. My edges prefer to be left alone (granted I’ve been told my baby hairs generally sit as if they have been manipulated)

      Aah I can see why based on your experience these videos are the ones that reach you more readily.

      Like

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