Ghanian actress and writer, Lydia Forson posted the journey of her natural hair and how it changed her on her personal blog.
Read and be inspired!
Today I’m going to share my natural hair story with you.
#HairCrushWednesday has always been about sharing stories about Naturals with inspiring hair and stories.
But I’ve never shared my own story, and I think it’s only fair that I do.
Its a long one, so get some soda and popcorn.
I didn’t hit an epiphany or an “ah ha” moment to start my natural hair journey, so you’ll be disappointed if you’re hoping to hear that.
My natural hair was totally unplanned and more by accident.
But a part of me has always liked the natural hair look ever since I saw Diana King in her hit music video “Shy Guy”.
I was 11 years old, and even though I’d been in Ghana for nearly two years, I was still struggling to embrace the mandatory short haircut many girls in Ghana are forced to have.
Watching her in that video rocking her short hair and looking so confident and fierce made me feel better about my “boy cut”.
I didn’t feel humiliated, embarrassed or like I was being punishedany more because of my hair; instead I embraced it as some cool look and walked around thinking I was Diana King for most of teenage years.
After secondary school, when everyone was eagerly rushing to perm their hair, I left mine for a few months until it became a little Afro. Eventually I caved and permed it because it seemed like the only other thing I could do.
I felt a disconnect with my hair and do much to it by way of style, except for the different colours I used to dye it. In a way I knew it wasn’t my look, but I wasn’t sure what was.
My friends will tell you all I eve
So when I bumped into an old friend with natural hair and how beautiful it looked, I remembered my little Afro and wanted to get my hair back to that.
But I knew it meant cutting all my hair off and starting over, something I mentally wasn’t ready for then. So I promised myself to do it the following year, but never got round to it.
Years later, roommate in university decided to go natural, at first I was excited and remembered the promise I’d made to myself, but watching her hair transistion discouraged. If you’ve ever transitioned, you know just how crazy your hair gets, especially when you don’t know what you’re doing.
But once she fully transitioned I saw how good her hair looked, and wanted to start mine but I didn’t have the patience to go through the transition.
Eventually though, I grew tired of perming my hair, but I couldn’t stop because I didn’t know what else to do.
So I decided to do a perm cut, hoping it was a way try and get used to having short hair, a look I enjoy for a while.
After university, for some reason I can’t explain each time I had to do a retouch I found an excuse to skip it. Nearly 5 months went by and I found myself transitioning without planning to.
However, everything changed on 24th birthday. My boyfriend at the time was flying in to Ghana for it and I didn’t want him to see my hair like that.
So on my birthday I decided to perm my hair and do a fresh perm it. I was turned away by two very popular salons (names withheld), they were upscale and wouldn’t even look at a client if they didn’t know them (I wasn’t very popular then).They gave me excuses like it was too late, they needed bookings(even when it was practically empty) and nearly every excuse imaginable. After much begging I left in anger when I they rushed to attend to a foreigner who just walked in.
I went to my friends house, down and almost in tears over what was feeling like a horrible birthday.
To cheer me up she took it upon herself to give me the new look I desperately wanted.
In a moment of temporary madness she convinced me to allow her give me a hair cut and I agreed. She cut some of the perm of and shaped it, this left my hair half perm half natural, and for some reason it worked.
And I kept it like this for several months, until I finally found the courage to completely cut all my perm off.
I didn’t know much about natural hair care or any salons that specialized in it and I didn’t know what products to use either. So I either texturized it to make it easier to maintain or cut it short.
It was comfortable, challenging and frustrating all in one. But the few Naturals I saw made it look so easy and I wondered how.
I didn’t even think to go online for help,I didn’t know there was a whole online community for natural hair.
There was so much I didn’t know and had been doing wrong for years because of this ignorance.
I realised I’d been treating my hair like it was some foreign object on my head, and I was completely disconnected from it.
My hair needed the same care and attention I gave other parts of my body, it needed to be taken care off, fed and pampered.
But the only way I could do this was by understanding that was about more than hair, it was a way of life. Once you understand this, your lifestyle will change along with it.
When I finally understood this, my hair no longer felt like a burden, and I began to learn more about taking care of it.
I was suddenly on this exciting adventure, discovering something new.
With this came a lot more confidence in not just my hair but who I was. There’s a power that comes with owning your hair in its natural state that I can’t put words to.
You feel liberated in a way, and nothing seemed impossible.
I think it’s because all ourlives we’ve had to conform to a certain standard of beauty, with permed hair being one of them.
And no, this doesn’t mean women with permed or texturized hair are anything less.
But we’ve done things not out of preference, but because we’ve been made to think we’re less beautiful without them.
Once you realize that you don’t have to conform to a certain standard of what’s beautiful or acceptable, you no longer feel restricted.
This is one of the reasons why I created “Kinky Matters” on my blog, to help others on their journey, and create a community where people can learn and share freely, making the process a lot easier and much more fun.
My natural hair story has been a learning process and I learn something new each day, and that’s what I love about it.
Hope you’ve enjoyed my story and may it inspire your own journey.