This week I finally found the meaning to life.
Okay, so clearly I'm being dramatic, what I mean to say is I've discovered what we all need to be able to achieving real results on our curly and afro hair care journeys, which let's be honest, is kinda close to finding the meaning to life FOR US..
Our curls, coils and kinks mean everything to us, right? They are intrinsically tied to our identity, who we are to ourselves and to the outside world, they even impact how we feel on a given day. Anybody woken up to a head full of curls that they just WERE NOT FEELING? Tell me on a scale of 1 - Cute where you'd have place yourself that day, and how that affected your mood, your work and even your relationships... If our hair isn't on point, we feel it in our BONES, so to align finding a solution to achieving beautiful, healthy, growing hair to the meaning of life is not TOTALLY off brand in my opinion.
What I learned this week was a genuinely huge moment for me.
As a black woman with a huge history of shielding, hiding and hating on my afro, I'm really new to the natural hair game, so I'm naturally taking everything in from our community for the VERY first time. Tips and tricks on how to moisturise your curls and lock that moisture in, trial and error with ingredients, realising what works and what REALLY DOES NOT on MY hair specifically, even trying different types of bonnets and head wraps to keep my newly budding locs safe and protected, it is A LOT to take in, and for real, wildly overwhelming, so coming to this new found conclusion has allowed me the space to just take a breath, and feel confident that I've finally found the key to this journey.
The secret to achieving the curls of your dreams iiiisss.....
Sorry, but it is.
I have a feeling everyone was waiting on the scoop on a newly launched oil extract, or some crazy trend only heard of in isolated parts of the world where they have cotton soft curls and hair down to their ankles, then I come and ruin everyones day with something as basic and boring as mindset.
BUT PLEASE, hear me out.
Think about how you care for your hair, how you treat it, handle it, the heaviness of your hand when you style it. In Episode 12 of Texture Talks, Carine Mbembe White, Founder and CEO of Afro Hair Candy, explained how important it us for us to really see how poorly we treat our hair every day, even going as far to say that she would advise people to not buy her products, based on the answers they gave, because if someone wasn't handling their hair with care, throwing some high quality conditioners and hydrating sprays in the mix would do next to nothing to help them achieve their hair goals.
No matter how amazing the products are, how expensive your tools were to buy or even how consistent you are with your afro and curly hair care regime, you will NOT SEE RESULTS, if you are heavily ripping, overly brushing, or aggressively pulling at your hair follicles, with a lack of patience, love and care for how truly fragile our beautiful coils really are.
The challenge is this idea that our hair can simply 'take it', which is especially thrown around in black cultures, has been EMBEDDED in our psyche for generations. Even up until the early 2000's we were bopping our heads to Lil Wayne talking about 'tougher than Nigerian hair' as if that was TOTALLY FINE, because let's be frank, for black people, that was the narrative.
Ever called your hair tough, hard, picky, difficult? Or how about heard someone else in our community use those terms? OR HOW ABOUT READ THEM ON YOUR HAIR CARE PRODUCTS?
See? These negative terminologies relating to the hardness of our natural hair have been floating around everywhere we turn, and we've been taking them into our mind, body and spirit without necessarily even realising they were ignorant and truthfully, just plain wrong. Taking the time to change our mindsets to understand the softness, beauty, and fragility of our curls, whatever tightness our coil pattern is, is truly the key to witnessing positive change in our hair care journeys.
Once we have that understanding, everything changes. Not even just with how we maintain our hair but in our lives, we see a softness that bleeds into other areas, in how we care for ourselves, how we communicate with others, even as silly as it sounds how we care for PLANTS! YES, PLANTS! I used to be the killer of all plants, I'm ashamed to admit it but it's true, I couldn't keep one alive past a week. I could never work out why. Now when I look back, I just didn't care about it, I paid absolutely no attention to detail, never researched how much water they needed, what environments they would thrive in, and often even forgot to water them all together, I had no love for them.
I felt EXACTLY the same about my afro.
I didn't get it, definitely didn't love it, and had no patience for it. There was no tenderness in how I held my curls, I would scrape with speed and power, brush like I was late to my own funeral, and sometimes wouldn't even where a head scarf, at the same time I would often opt for wigs, weaves, relaxer, basically AN-Y-THING, to avoid me having to deal with it. As soon as I really started to invest my time and energy into listening to my hair and what it needs to thrive, I found myself seeking out knowledge I never cared about, finding products I never knew about, and taking my sweet time when I touched my hair like it was made of the FINEST SILK, that has now produced the softest, bounciest, beautiful hair as it matures into locs, than I have ever seen on my scalp...in my entire life.
The 360 turn, my hair has made is truly shocking, and as a result, my new behaviours and mindset have allowed me the ability to ACTUALLY GROW A PLANT....IT'S BEEN 3 WEEKS AND THE PLANT IS STILL NOT DEAD AND IS IN FACT....BUDDING NEW LIFE AS WE SPEAK!
How we see things, and shifting the way we understand not just our hair but the world around us is the secret sauce we all need to get us close to what we desire. Because for real guys, once we have adopted that new mindset, and start living with real intent, doors open to us that we always believed were bolted shut, new life is breathed into spaces of our lives that were always cloudy and dark, and the aspirations we have across the board become reality as everything slowly starts to fall into place.
As a community we of course will never stop seeking and searching for answers, if you take my advice the journey moves from laborious to a labor of love.
Check out my instagram video talking about this exact topic to really hit the point home, (don't forget to drop me a follow for more content!)
Until next time!