In this series we are sharing hair stories from women like you. This time round we have a story from Maria, who blogs as Ms Xpat on the Tiger Tales.
"I had my first full head of relaxer when I was about 14 years old. I say ‘full head’ because when I was about 10, my mum slapped some Goldy’s straightener to the front of my hair. She wanted my hair to be super neat without frizz.
"when I was about 10, my mum slapped some Goldy’s straightener to the front of my hair."
By the age of 41, I’d had my third big chop (BC) to cut off my chemically relaxed hair. The first I’d done in my late 20’s at the end of a break-up, in 2000, I was still in Trinidad at the time. In my mind I wanted to be invisible while I got to know myself again. They say hair is a woman's beauty and I felt that I could do without that for a while.
The following year, bags packed, armed with a texturizer kit, I arrived in Heathrow Airport. I didn’t expect to find a salon that catered for my hair in Cambridge and I knew my hair grew quickly. After a few months, I began using the texturizer I had brought with me. I applied it sparingly because I had no idea was I was doing. By the time I’d moved into my second flat share in London, summer 2003, I found a hairdresser in East London and I didn’t look back from my creamy crack addiction until 2010.
Along my natural hair journey I’ve had three BCs each marking a new phase of my life.
After three years of marriage, Hubby and I decided to start a family. I wanted to be as healthy as possible. I didn’t want any unnecessary chemicals in my system: at 37 I would be entering the ‘older mum’ category as it was. I discussed it with Hubby because although I’d cut my hair when we were together it was chemically straightened. He was supportive but did stress he would prefer if I didn’t cut it was short as when I was in Trinidad. So, I transitioned for about three months until I cut my hair myself - my second BC.
After my experience, I wouldn’t recommend cutting your own hair unless you know what you’re doing or have a hairdresser on speed dial! Thankfully a dear friend rescued my botched job.
"Going natural was the best thing I could have done for me and my children in terms of self-care and self-love."
When I gave birth for the first time, I had a boy! His hair grew with the most luscious curls. I didn’t cut them until he was about 16 months old. It’s the West Indian belief that you don’t cut boys’ hair until they are able to speak. A few months later his sister was born, by then I’d had experience managing my hair texture and his so I was ready for her. Or so I thought.
My daughter hated having her hair washed from the start. Washday tantrums stressed us all out. Thankfully, we are past it now! We understand what’s needed for a stress free washday.
I guess that’s why it’s called a hair journey; it’s a trip into self-discovery.
In 2015 I had my third BC, just to update my look. I wanted something fun and funky. I my hair cut in an asymmetrical TWA (teeny weeny afro) and I loved it! Luckily so did Hubby. In fact it was sort of his idea. He fancied the side head shaved style but I went for shaving both sides and cutting the crown short. I’m currently growing out again and having fun with it. I’ve even tweaked my regime; less steps, less products but better quality. Happy days!
Cutting my hair and going natural helped me grow into the woman I needed to be. Going natural was the best thing I could have done for me and my children in terms of self-care and self-love. Although I am not my hair, my hair is a reflection of person I am today. I guess that’s why it’s called a hair journey; it’s a trip into self-discovery."
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