My return to natural was an issue of practicality. In 2010, I moved to the US to complete my Master’s degree, I lived there for 2 years. The climate was so hot and humid that maintaining straight hair became impossible! If you went from sleek to frizz by noon each day, you’d also be considering your options! This is when I decided to loosen my grip on the flat iron and let my curls run free. I did have the benefit of testing the waters in a foreign place where nobody knew my name, and by the time I returned to South Africa, I was armed with confidence and dark, bouncy curls!
All of this is not to say that my mum and I did not battle it out on a Sunday afternoon when it was time to wash (read fight) my hair. She did decide to relax my long, thick hair, preaching manageability! I continued to relax my hair for the next twenty years because this was a norm reinforced by society. My lovely hairdresser ululated over my beautiful waves and begged me to stop relaxing my hair. I did quit the crack intermittently, though still not willing to go natural. Blowouts and a GHD was my lifeline.
Thing is, I was already much older when I returned to natural. I had gone through life experiences and formed values, ideas and a lifestyle that shaped who I am. I was a well-rounded career woman with a loving husband, I had friends who enjoyed me in the skin I am in. I learned to care less about what irrelevant people thought of me and I knew what I wanted to improve about myself. My hair was an inconvenience at the time but it did not run my life. I love my hair, and it affirms my confidence, sure, but it will always be the tip of the iceberg, a crown atop my head. I am the queen of this castle!
What is your story? Let me know in the comments.