Previously, in Part Three of “Finding Self”:
My dream was to have soft, silky hair that blew beautifully in the wind, and put a friggin brush through. Growing up I was told that brown and black celebs relaxed their hair, so then I did too. I found a best friend, her name was Miss Dark & Lovely. She was the key to helping me survive my teenage years and continued to relax my hair for the next 25 years. But all those chemicals killed my hair. (if you missed Part Three, you can read it HERE)
This is Part 4…
Free Your Hair And The Rest Will Follow
Sounds funny, but SO TRUE. I’ll explain…
So, about 13 years ago I decided to free my hair from all that brutal sh*t and go au natural. But I didn’t know the next step to nurse my hair back to health. Then I thought, where do people go for info? YouTube! And on YouTube I went.
OMG… There was so much info – from washing the hair 1x per week, to co-washing, to using an egg/olive oil/honey combo, to oils on the scalp, and more! Ahhh… what’s a girl to do?
Go to a curly-girl approved hair salon!
But not any curly-girl approved hair salon… THE salon. And that was Devachan in NYC, where the curly-girl method all started. So, I scheduled an appointment and made sure I had the budget to go along with it. ‘Cuz curly hair aint cheap yo’!
About 2 weeks later I literally jumped into the chair and said, “HELP!” My stylist said, “Guuurl…you have beautiful curls! All you need is just a little TLC and patience.” I was shocked by his response as I thought I was gonna get a mouthful like… “WTF did you do to your hair?!” But I didn’t. “All you need to do is use products that are paraben, silicone and alcohol free (try saying that 10x fast), deep condition 1x per week, and cut the damaged hair about every 6 months so that you don’t look like a fool”, he continued. It sounded so easy! And that’s when my curly journey started. Oh, and what a journey it was…
Yeah whatever, it wasn’t easy! It took 3 painful years for all my damaged hair to grow out. You can imagine what I looked like with my hair down… ‘kinda like a mushroom head (bro’ lied to me… I still looked like a fool!). But I wasn’t willing to go short and start from scratch. So that meant hiding my straighter parts from my new, curlier growth. How? By putting it up. I literally had my hair in a bun for 2 years! (I aint looking like no fool!) But, I had to trust the process. And I’m glad I did. (thank the lord that I am passed that now)
After each year of my curly hair journey, I became happier as my healthy hair grew in. It was out with the old and in with the new. I began to like my curls, and actually started to like myself too. And the more care I put into my hair, the more pride I had in my hair, and the more it boosted my confidence. People started to compliment my curls and said they were poppin’. My poppin’ hair seemed to give me power. It helped me understand that being different was a good thing.
Ever since then I’ve been finally showing myself some love. I’ve been by showing off my individuality and enhancing me, instead of covering up. I now embrace my strong Yemeni features – like my dark eyes, my cheekbones, my black curly hair with a mind of its own, and my cocoa skin that became dark chocolate in the sun (sounds yummy to me now.) In fact, my confidence still deepens when family and friends tell me that I look like a parent, a grandparent, or even an ancestor I’ve never met. It’s such a compliment to me now. You know why? Because the way I look is an ode to my heritage.
And what could be more beautiful than that!
So, as you can see, when I finally freed my hair… the rest did actually follow – and with poppin’ curls too!
And that takes us to the 2nd to last part of Finding Self where I’m finding joy by reconnecting with my heritage…coming next week.