Woah! Take five steps back and let’s consider this one.
I couldn’t help but sense the angst in the comments of my Instagram followers when I posted my stories of my ‘curly to straight’ transformation last week. I’d gone to the hairdresser for a long-overdue cut and thought, ‘Ah, seeing that I am here, why not let her do a little blow out?’ And that was as far as my thought process went- no ‘length check’ or ‘will this damage my hair’ just a plain old, ‘that could be nice for a change.’
We always have to get to the ‘why am I telling you this?’ part of the post and we have gotten here quickly.
I have been saying this for a while and I want to reiterate that my hair has become really normal to me. There was a stage just after my big chop that I was obsessed about preventing damage because I wanted my hair to grow out. I’ve maintained many of those practices, like using good products, limiting my hair’s exposure to heat and wearing a satin bonnet or silk scarf when I sleep and those practices have meant that my hair is generally quite healthy and strong. I completely understand the initial worries around caring for natural hair and now, three years into my journey, I can honestly say that it isn’t as much of a chore to do so. This, ultimately, means that I feel confident that a blow out from time to time is okay.
I was asked whether I felt that I was betraying myself by wearing my hair straight. This question surprised me because I feel that a once-off decision doesn’t necessarily compromise my preference to wear my hair naturally. There I said it, it’s a preference and not a signing up to a pseudo cult of all heat being evil and straight hair being the devil- dramatic, I know, but let me explain:
Yes, my hair started my journey to self-love and a fuller acceptance of what God has blessed me with but it is not the end point to my journey. That platform allowed me to discover so many other parts that make up my experience of being whole, that I feel it is far too simplistic to say that my hair defines me and that a flat iron is a betrayal of who I am. This is becoming really complex…
So let me simplify it: I am not my hair. And, while I appreciate that I am able inspire other women to find themselves through a natural hair journey, it is a visual and bold (and beautifully big and bushy) invitation for you to get to view the other parts of me. I went through so much to break free of the expectations people had of me and their limitations they had put on my beauty that I refuse to be boxed in again, even by a community of individuals that I love. My hair can do so much and I don’t see why I cannot experiment with it as I see fit. We need to be very careful when we categorise one another based on something as external as hair; there is so much more to me than just that.
So, to answer my initial question, no- I am not abandoning my curls. I could never sign up for a permanent fear of water, mist or steam ever again. If I am honest, straight hair makes me so self-conscious because I fear frizz and my natural hair, prone to expanding, has become a strange security blanket that allows me to unfold my confidence.
Have I confronted you with the seeing some of your parts as merely that and not your whole?
Leave a comment and share your thoughts.
Until my next post, Bronny xx