My Hairstory: 2011
"You can shave my head bald and I will still walk around here like I am a goddess..."
- Toccara Jones, America's Next Top Model, Cycle 3
I have always had long, thick hair. Mum says I was born with a full head of black curls. My mum started relaxing it before I was 2 years old. Actually I think she used to texturize it. By the time I was 3 or 5 She was relaxing it. My hair is naturally more curly than kinky.
My first birthday
I am 100% Nigerian. Both parent are from Nigeria and as far as I can tell there is no history of ancestral interracial relationships. I always feel the need to state this point because I'm often asked if I am mixed race. Not because I'm particularly fair in complexion, but because of the length, texture, and thickness of my hair.
I cut it when I was 14. It was so short that I had to use clips when I wanted to put it up. Too short to put into a pony-tail. I remember the outrage and shock from men and women alike.
"Why would you cut your hair?!"
"You cut it! Why? What if it doesn't grow back?"
"Don't cut it again!"
But it's just hair. And it does grow back.
I'm 21 now. Before Christmas last year, my hair was approximately 16 inches in length:
My 21st birthday
Making the switch
I wanted to cut it. I have become a little afro-centric with age. I love the way afro hair looks. I love the way it feels, but most of all I love the elegance, strength, grace, and confidence, that seems to exude from women with natural afro hair.
A friend once said to me:
"Black hair is a beautiful thing. You can do anything you want with it."
This is so true. You can weave, braid, twist, barb, relax, dread, straighten, curls, press... it's so versatile. Black hair is a blank canvas. The sky is the limit.
So with so many options, why limit myself to just one, simply because I was afraid of what people would say? I realised that beauty really cannot be defined by the length of your hair. Or by your hair at all. My hair was long, it got me a lot of attention, compliments and oddly, even praise sometimes. But it was just hair. Not even natural. Hair that had been chemically straightened.
I was becoming too attached to the admiration that came from having the long hair. It was beginning to define me. I was beginning to internalize the comments. I started to believe that without my hair I could not stand out. I was not attractive.
This was what pushed me to cut it, I was determined to also stop relaxing it.
And so, after talk, talk, talk, I cut it:
I've started off with a bob, and will gradually trim off the ends, as the natural hair grows out.