Alicia Keys: “And the day came when the risk it took to remain tightly closed in a bud, was more painful than the risk it took to bloom.”
Original quote by Anais Nin (BTW, she has the most amazing quotes!): “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”
I get bored really easily. And not just that, boredom is painful for me, as it usually results in migraines (weird init?). So I like to keep busy and I’m usually on the lookout for new experiences. When I did the post on my new year resolutions, I noted that I would “experiment” and “continue this love thing”. Deciding to go natural falls under those categories, and coincidentally, under “let my hair down” as well, in a literal sense. Alors, if you want a short version of why I decided to go natural, it’s because it’s a new year, I’m trying new(or rather old?) things, and I’m taking an extra step to understanding & taking care of myself.
At this point, you can a) Skip to photo of my new cut b) Read on for the nitty gritty details of my hair journey.
My Hair History
Going through w/ the big chop(BC) has been quite a surprise for some of my friends. Especially since I was always a “I want long hair” kinda girl. Why I wanted long hair? Well. Because for the greater part of my life I’ve had short hair; like really low cut short hair. Cetirus Paribus, being denied long hair led to a greater thirst for long hair. (The law of scarcity) So when I finally finished high school in Ghana, I jumped right into relaxing, no questions asked. As the fates would have it, my quest for “long hair” has been thwarted many-a-time.
By the end of the first winter in the US, I had a gaping hole near the nape of my neck, where my hair had literally broken off. I got a cut. And I hated it. Factor in the price differentials for hair care in the U.S. in comparison to Ghana, I couldn’t afford to go to the salon as frequently as I should have, poor college student that I was. More hair breakage. Good thing though, I love braids, so those were my fall-backs. Until France. Along with sumptuous French pastries came Adjoa. A Ghanaian woman residing in France, and an awesome hair specialist. Under her gentle care, my hair blossomed. Needless to say, I was happy. Throughout this entire time, I’ve had friends who’ve gone natural, and I’ve thought about it myself, but my desire for “long hair” was too strong.lol. So I resisted.
Long story short. For the reasons below – and a couple I’ve probably forgotten to add – I’m officially and absolutely natural (Dec. 23). The goal is to keep it natural. But you know how we always make excuses lol.
Why Now? [in no particular order of importance]
1. I got bored. It’s a new year (well, soon), time to spice things up
2. Meeting amazing and extremely beautiful women w/ short haircuts gave me the helping hand I needed
3. Realizing that I actually have a lot of friends who are natural and talking to them about the pros and cons
4. My frustration w/ my last weave. Gosh, disentangling the stuff took hours each day!!!
5. Realizing that if one is indebted to someone else, and keeps his or her income in the bank, it doesn’t change the fact that he/she still owes that person. In other words: Ignoring the fact that my hair needed a break, and that I wasn’t taking care of it the way I should, didn’t make my hair situation any better
6. Identity: I’m embracing myself as many things, and this is simply who I choose to be now
7. It’s much easier to fulfill my religious obligations w/o having to worry about messing up/damaging my hair (God knows best!)
8. Choice!!!! In the past, having low natural haircuts was a requirement for school. This decision was made entirely of my own free will. Hence “the element of freedom” lol.
9. Music: India Arie, Lauryn Hill, Jill Scott, Asa etc
10. Time & Money: I don’t have much of either these days, so might as well use what I have efficiently
11. The blues: I think missing home, family and friends subconsciously prompted me to return to familiar terrain? lol
12. I love my eyes & I absolutely love earrings. Short hair allows me to accentuate both.
And in case you’re wondering, the movie Good Hair, had nothing to do w/ it. Haven’t watched it…yet. I just might lol.
Okay, enough talk, the photos! But first.
Appreciation (also a resolution): Freda, Pearlyn, Yvonne (REACH crew ;D ), Abby, Chisom, Moiyattu, Trish, Yaba, Annatu, Charles, Philippe, Mummy, Daddy (for having a convo on hair w/ me even though it’s “women talk” lol), Mae, All my “natural” friends (you’re too many to be listed, but you know yourselves), Youtube, and of course, Allah.
Now to the grand finale (I sound like an ad lol)
The “new” me (until I get bored again, jk lol)
Needless to say… I’m happy :), and it’s not an exaggeration. You really do feel renewed. Not to be cliche or anything, enjoy India’s “I’m not my hair” Peace out peeps!
Jemila Abdulai is the creative director, editor and founder of the award-winning website Circumspecte.com, an digital platform dedicated to insights and opinions on development, business, politics, lifestyle and human interest stories related to Ghana, Africa and Africans. A media and international development professional and economist by training, she combines her business, communications and project management expertise with her strong passion for Africa.