Pictures not in correlation with events mentioned
In primary school, I was always prone to be bullied. Most of the time it was because I was the teacher’s pet in almost all of my classes. The bullying didn’t bother me much then because it wasn’t intense; it was when I moved to a new school that it got worse.
I never talk about this because in my mind I like to tell myself that those people (they were my close friends) meant no harm, which they probably didn’t. But that fact doesn’t make it any less hurtful.
I remember my first big chop; I had read about natural hair on my brother’s phone and decided that I would join in the movement. I was clueless, I was 11 and I was taking care of my own hair. It didn’t look good. It wasn’t a mess or dirty but it was shrunken and clumped up in one place.
Back then I didn’t know anything about stretching, I didn’t have proper hair products but I was determined because someone online told me I should be proud of my natural hair, and I was. But some people, not so much.
I still remember sitting in class and someone taking a piece of my hair and stretching it to see how far along it stretched, and the longer it was, the louder the laughs got. I still remember someone asking how my parents could not relax my hair because it looked a mess, that they can buy me clothes but can’t take care of my hair.
In everyone’s mind (in 2010), shrunken natural hair looked like a mess and untamed and those were the words they used to describe me. By the end of that year I had given in and relaxed my hair, and even though I hated it, everybody else loved it. They said it was beautiful and I was satisfied, as long as they stopped saying nasty things about me. I got my self-confidence back, just a bit.
From then on wards, I was never bullied again (Because of hair, not other things like acne). I mean I had beautiful silky hair so they had no reason right? It’s just so horrible that the idea that straight hair is what is beautiful has been engraved into our minds at such a young age that doing a big chop in grade 7 was such a big deal and I received backlash from it.
My second big chop was a breeze. Yes people were shocked because I had long relaxed hair and just decided to cut it. But at the same time everybody was supportive. I just can’t believe it took me four years until I big chopped again because I was always thinking about it after I relaxed my hair.
Now I am in love with my hair. Even though sometimes it is so hard to take care of, I would never go back to relaxing. It now has so much much more versatility and I’m able to take care of it, plus natural hair has become a norm now and nobody questions my decision.
It is very obvious in my mind that I will never relax my hair. It doesn’t look good on me and it never did, I just wish I had support to keep my natural hair natural in 2010 because I would have been far now with my natural hair journey.