It is exactly a year today since I last had a real hatred for my natural hair.
I was a few weeks off shaving my head for about the third time, and was seriously considering giving it a 4th. Even the flat thin layer of soft new growth lining my scalp was causing me huge anxiety, and I realised, that was a problem.
Between me and you I can be quite an anxious person at the best of times, I realised I couldn't live my life feeling constantly stressed about my own natural form, I would eventually have a breakdown. For sure.
So, I started, that day, see me below, yeah that exact day, 1st of September, 2022, I decided enough was enough.
But sis there was SO MUCH nobody warned me about, WITH ONE POINT IN PARTICULAR THAT TOOK ME SOME TIME TO UNDERSTAND...
SO, if you're a new natural or considering growing out your afro or curls, let me give you some guidance as to what to one of the biggest realisations I had on my journey that hopefully will make your natural hair care journey less stressful.
So, the thing that nobody tells you is there is no magic switch in your brain that suddenly makes you love your hair....okay kids, this doesn't just happen.
ESPECIALLY, if, like me, you have spent years and years of your life hating, not understanding, and mistreating your natural kinks, curls and coils.
Think about it like this, you have a really nasty relationship with a friend, family member, PARTNER, I dunno, thats not the point of this story, you basically can't take someone, at all, picture another human being straight TRYING YOU, EVERY DAMN DAY, and as such, you simply cannot stand their extra ass. You do everything possible to avoid them, if they tell you they need something, it's likely you ignore them, because, why would I listen to you? And for years you just spend your life thinking...I really don't get this person.
THEN you have a realisation that this anger is unhealthy, and it's not serving anybody, so you decide to TURN OVER A NEW LEAF, FRESH START, NEW BEGINNINGS, are you going to wake up that next morning and are all those feelings of contempt just going to float out the window? AB SO LUT LEY NOT SIS.
You gotta work through those feelings, over time.
I'm possibly the most impatient person on the planet, for real for real, I am always in a hurry, for absolutely no reason, so when I tell you this, understand it genuinely hurts my heart, but girl you gotta be patient.
You WILL fall in love with your hair, I can guarantee that... with chest, but it happens accidentally without you even realising. DO NOT, I REPEAT, DO NOT, let the YouTubers and Instagrammers of the world lead you to believe that shit happens overnight because they are lying for clickbait and views, issa process.
You might actually kinda low key hate your hair a little bit more at the beginning of your natural hair care journey, I did, and you have to mentally prepare yourself for that and not throw in the towel. I had gotten so used to swerving my afro all together, that the learning curve that I was starting from scratch, made me irritable.
Having to search for what products to use, USING THEM, AND GETTING IT WRONG, wasting money, having to get back into routines and habits I hadn't had to even THINK ABOUT for years, it was like someone left a little afro baby at my door with a note saying "good luck sis" and 1 bottle of cheap Argan oil in the basket for good measure, and I was just expected to find the answers myself.
Please, do not internalise this as a YOU problem, you are not lazy or stupid, you are finding a new way to live, love and learn, so give yourself the grace and compassion to grow at your own steady pace and make mistakes as we all do.
You will get there.
Trying to rush the process because other people online SEEMED to start their natural hair care journey one day and mastered every style, hair care method and treatment the next is only going to make you scrap it all together, hop up off your sofa, and go and buy yourself a wig or a box of relaxer.
This is a marathon, not a sprint.
Once I started understanding more about my hair, in the same way that I used to learn things at school, genuinely, I HAD TO STUDY MY CURLS, then I started to be able to relax a little, because things were slowly coming together, and thats when the love starts to creep in.
When you start understanding how important water is for hydrating your hair, and that it was so damn 'difficult' before because it was simply really dry and brittle, THEN you start researching more about this topic, and you realise that rose water might help soften your natural curls, which you never knew, sooooo you buy it, and try a little...and now before you know it, you're using rose water every day BEFORE you use any styling products, and all of a sudden you're seeing curls, waves, and your hair is bouncing back with LIFE, like you've never seen it.
OR, you always avoided learning about what porosity meant (guilty as charged) and never really thought it was important, thinking simply searching 4c hair tip this and 4c wash day that was enough to get you those good good results, only to fail miserably in the bathroom, greasy and alone, wondering why. And when you decided to really get your head around the importance of porosity, what it means, and which type you had, you had this wild moment of realisation that you've not been sealing your hair with the right products as it loses moisture super fast, ooooorrr on the FLIP SIDE, your follicles are already SUPER SEALED, so you HAVE TO AVOID HEAVY BUTTERS, then you notice that your whole hair care regime starts to actually work...
THAT is how you fall in love.
But you have to really want to try sis. You gotta ask questions. Research. Be okay with getting things wrong and be ready to bounce up to try again when it does.
You have to be ready for the good hair days and the confusing ones.
Be prepared for those annoying times where 50 people swear by one particular oil but YOUR HAIR SAYS, NOT TODAY GIRL.
All of these things happened and are STILL happening to me, but everyday I get something wrong, I get so many other things right, this is literally what makes it a 'journey' and by having the patience to discover how to truly love my hair, I've genuinely fallen deeply in love with myself, the good news is, the two go hand in hand.
Your journey is YOURS, theres no timing on this, theres no right or wrong way to do it, theres just you waking up every day, and doing your damn best, and that is more than enough.
With how I felt about my hair, if I can do a whole year, trust me, you can do 10..
We got this.
Follow my instagram @Texturetalksuk to follow me on my own hair care journey as I grow locs from scratch, and learn everything day by day, we can learn together