To me , allowing anyone to wash my hair or make it is an absolute act of submission — why ? Because my 4c hair is absolutely exhausting to care for and maintain . I still remember the dreadful days of my hair wash days — during my younger days . My mum intensely scrubbed my scalp in a bid to wash out any unwanted element.
First it was sweet when she started washing it — because when there’s water and soap/shampoo on the hair — it was relatively easy to comb. However , the aftermath was a story I would forever dread — my hair became like a sponge almost immediately.
It was like my fro became shy of being seen — and all of a sudden combing my hair became a chore — one I dreaded more than cleaning.
Luckily my mum saw my suffering and devised a plan on how to keep my hair safe till it was time to make it — she called it “water — water”.
It came with its own fair share of pain , but in the long run — it was in my best interest so I endured the pain — in the same way I do till date.
Over my lifetime, my hair has seen its share of ups and downs , bad hair days as well as extended periods of peace.
THE EARLY — MID EARLY DAYS
Nobody is flawless — and my sister is no exception, and that’s why when she brushed my hair in the mornings when my mother tasked her with it — I could almost swear that we didn’t come from the same womb .
First , she used the hardest brush she found in the dresser’s top drawer , and she brushed my hair mercilessly, something I think I can now call unwarranted enthusiasm “sorry sis”.
I challenged her recently and she gave me a slightly suitable answer — and of course I’ve forgiven her, but I really needed to find out what exactly happened.
Harmattan period were the hardest, from using baby oil to help with the pain to tying it day in day out to prevent the “stony love affair” that my hair enjoyed with the harmattan, I never once found a hack on how to keep things in my favor. It was like an endless series of unfortunate hair events, and getting into middle school made it even more exhausting.
HOSTEL LIFE AND MY SPECIAL CROWN
I had a love — hate relationship for Sundays during my high school days. The love part being that we got served Jollof rice and fried chicken and coleslaw. The hate part being that I had to do my hair. Whew. Instead Sunday was always a conflicting one — and now I wonder why the pain didn’t come before the joy.
Many Sundays were exhausting because i was often pushed to the end of the line because my hair was “virgin hair” — like they often referred to it. It almost always seemed like wearing my natural hair was a crime. Thankfully, my best friend in “JSS ‘’ came to my rescue more times than not. There were times that we made the hair in the dead of the night after the hairdressers were spent and “wouldn’t dare” to touch my hideously dreadful “very African hair.
THE BREAKING POINT
The long holiday that ushered me into my senior secondary school (SSS) — I made a decision to relax my hair. I knew my parents were going to frown about it , but Omo , I couldn’t do it anymore. On the other side of town, my best friend was crying and having intense discussions about leaving our school (she was torn , completely and totally), this meant that I was not going to have anybody to do my hair. Wahala. I mean I didn’t know this until many years later, but my mind didn’t let me rest till I permed the hair.
As the hairdresser massaged the mixture into my scalp — I felt somewhat relieved , but also conflicted. How do I explain to my parents that all of a sudden — I couldn’t keep living the “life” they wanted me to live. I took comfort in the fact that they couldn’t cane me, send me out of the house or pray against me — so I went home to face the consequences of my actions.
THE YEARS FOLLOWING
I enjoyed the decision I made to perm the hair — my parents’ disappointment slowly tuned down , and they started learning to understand that “coming of age” comes with so many ideas and decisions. The next major incident I had with my hair was when I was doing my service (NYSC) — I bought a new relaxer and my scalp burned as well as my heart — I wept lol. What followed was serious hair fall outs , then terrible front hair damage. I just knew that I had to start over, but how ? Was I going to cut my hair? It was relatively long so it was a tough decision for me, but l looked like an egg , and I hated that — but cutting your hair isn’t a decision that is made in the spur of the moment, so I waited .
A BROKEN HEART , A SHAVED SCALP
A few months after , the urge to cut my hair was heightened, and I knew that I was now or never. I talked to my then boyfriend about it — he wasn’t happy about it “I would get you hair products to maintain it” “we would walk this journey together” , but don’t cut the hair. I took a step back, the man I love so dearly wants me to work on this hair , and he’s willing to even go the extra mile with me, maybe I should try ‘I thought. Nothing much happened after the conversation and my hair still kept falling out so one day — one day I was upset with him and I couldn’t take it anymore — more of the latter if \i’m being honest. I cut my hair , and then proceeded to go out on a mini-date with him. He was furious , mad , and upset.
I started dating you with hair , now you’ve cut it even after we spoke about it? Is it because you were upset with me? I don’t like girls on lowcut ….. We went on to eat our food mumbling awkward conversations here and there, while he avoided eye contact. I felt bad, ugly , bitter even. I know what I did wasn’t right, but I just couldn’t do it again. It was too much hair trouble for me. We sat in the cab in silence, he dropped at his destination while I proceeded to mine. I was seething , how could he make me feel like that , no way I would let that slide. I picked up my phone and broke up with him.
I proceeded to share my news — I cut my hair and broke up with my boyfriend because he wasn’t onboard. Wait? You did that? Haba ? no nau! Isn’t that such a minor thing to end a relationship over? I pondered and wondered what to do. He had told me some stories that made me feel like the only way out (if I wanted us to get back together) was to start making my hair again. So I did.
With the pain gripping my skull and almost displacing my neck, I made the call that changed things. I accepted my “ignorance” and asked that we get back together and added that “I had made my hair”. We met up that day or the next day , until when we finally broke up again. This time I wasted no time to cut my hair when the hair I had on was due for remaking , with no plans to grow it again just yet. My mother gladly completed the big chop — and I proceeded to give out my wigs and weaves.
LIFE AS IT IS NOW
I loved my low cut — and I don’t mind going back to it if my current hair lifestyle stresses me out again. Lol. Finally, I decided to start making it again — no pressure. I say this jokingly , also seriously “anyone that has issues with my current hairstyle or what I intend to do (as far as it is comfy for me) should avoid me”.
Now I do whatever with my hair — although I still dread making it , and still cry sometimes . Thankfully I’m on dreadlocks so no much wahala till I need to retwist it. I think that generally I prefer braids or Ghana weaving or scarves (God I love scarves) — if you see me on any of the things mentioned earlier, just prepare the bride price cause you’ll find yourself in my parents house sooner than later, cause the beauty would be blinding.
I still haven’t learned how to take care of my hair properly, so after I started growing it in mid 2021 , 99% of the time it was made (mostly protective style) , then locked in the first quarter of 2022.
I think what I have learnt is that you cannot force interest in things you aren’t into. I have no interest whatsoever in being that “over caring” hair owner, but I have found my own way to manage the situation (life gave me oranges , and I made marmalade) . cheeiii.
This my hair — through big chops and hard days , it remains the same. The major recipient of love-hate feelings.
Anyway love your hair, and your other features. They’re going to be with you forever.
Till next time — much love.
Love, E 💕.