April 25th 2017, the day I met my hair. After 27 years, I met my hair for the very first time. “How?” you may ask. Well, for as long as I can remember I have had my natural hair manipulated using various methods including: the very hot – hot comb, texturizers, relaxers, braids, and weaves. As soon I had 1 inch of new growth it was time to top up on the chemicals. What I understood to be my hair does in no way compare to the beautiful, ferocious, curly afro that I now acknowledge, praise, love, and on occasion set-free.
Relax a little; better yet, relax it all
Getting a chemical relaxer every couple of months was a natural part of my routine. In the same way one would get their hair coloured or have their car cleaned, it was just something I did. Unbeknownst to me, the glory I felt walking out the hair salon with silky straight hair was a fabricated illusion taught to me by the society in which I was raised.
If my naps (aka kinky hairs) were controlled, I was that much closer to achieving what I perceived as the standard of beauty. It was also the easiest way to blur the lines of differences between my peers and myself. Only later will I learn that beauty lies IN our differences. This twisted perception presented itself to be true since there were few references for comparisons. The black women in my world -Tv personalities, teachers, aunts, cousins, friends, sister, mother- all conformed to the trend. What was a girl to do?
The damage was done
I have always been very adventurous with my hairstyles. I’ve cut it into short bobs, pixies, grew it long and even bleached it. After years of toying with it, the combination of a relaxer and bleach showed no mercy. After 2 months of rocking blonde-ish hair, it began to break in an uncontrollable manner – the damage was done. Every stroke of a comb, or brush against my pillowcase brought the immediate death to many strands.
Witnessing the damage that I had caused ignited my curiosity to uncover what I had been suppressing for almost 3 decades, the strength of my natural hair. And there was no time like now since that was all that remained.
My unforeseeable 4C, now
Everyday is a new day on this journey and to be completely honest I am not exactly sure how to care for it just yet. It will be a steady process of trial and error until I find what works best. Needless-to-say, embarking on this journey has been enlightening in more ways than one. I’ve learned more about myself beyond the texture of my curls; yes, I confidently embrace them for what they are now. I’ve learned that my hair does not, will not and has never defined me. I am the same confident, relentless female I have always been. I’ve also learned that in embracing my hair I can be an example to someone who is fondling with the idea of going natural or a resource for answers to someone who has no idea what it means to have kinky hair. The beauty that is my hair is versatile, untamed, and 100% natural.
Seeing a kink in my reflection wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Drine has a degree in business and currently works in management consulting. She is a young woman on the journey of self-discovery. She is a self-described foodie with a special interest in travel, animals, and investments. You can find her socializing with friends or on an impromptu trip to somewhere new. Follow her journey on instagram [@morr_drine]