I am sorry, that you felt your hair was ugly.
I am sorry, that there were not enough people to tell you that your hair is beautiful just as it is.
I am so sorry, that there was not enough information online to inspire you to love and style your hair differently.
I am so sorry, that as a community we did not hold your hand through the awkward phase and help you transition through it with ease.
I am so sorry, that those who were around you made you feel that only long hair can be attractive.
But most of all I am sorry that those of us who have gone through this phase did not do enough to document our struggles so that those coming after us would know what to expect.
However, as you go through the motions of finding your happy place with your hair, I hope you never think of it as UGLY. It may be hard, difficult, stringy, coarse, straw-like, scanty, tufty or unruly. Anything but UGLY.
We, in the Natural hair community, like to call it the awkward phase. Awkward because it is just different, unusual, new. A learning curve of sorts; but when you figure it out, you will be just fine.
I remember after my first big chop. My hair was constantly in protective styles. I hid my hair from the world because I didn’t think it was acceptable to others. But indoors, I loved it! I would take countless photos and primp and preen. However, as soon as I needed to step out, I would cover it up with a wig or add an extension. At some point I coloured it because I didn’t feel it was beautiful enough on its own.
Kindly note that this was years ago! Back when the only natural hair bloggers were Kurly Kichana and Ess of Kinky Curly Coily Me. Online groups like Tricia’s Naturals was just starting out and The Kurlly Diaries, Nurtured Knotts, Afro Diaries 254 and Hairpolitan Lifestyle were unheard of. I mean, this was before Instagram!!!!!
Flashback to my second big chop, it was a different narrative all together. I loved and enjoyed my short hair and the world around me (online and in person) did too! It was a different experience because I had a loving natural hair community. I had access to way more information; and also to products and lots of inspiration from the internets.
Our hair is beautiful; bald, short, long…kinky, curly, coily.
It is carries our DNA.
It gives us our unique identity.
No two heads are the same.
So, yes, some stages may be harder than others. We may be filled with insecurity and suffer self-esteem issues. However, our hair will never be ugly! Those two words should never be used in the same sentence ever!
Here’s to loving our hair as it is, every stage of the way.
It is us, our unique heritage.
Yours and mine.
With lots of love,
DO YOU HAVE ANY STRUGGLES WITH YOUR NATURAL HAIR? WOULD YOU LIKE ADVISE ON HOW TO SAIL THROUGH THE DIFFERENT PHASES? ASK OR COMMENT BELOW AND WE’LL TRY AND HELP BEST WE CAN.
This article was first published on Wachu Wanjaria’s website on September 25th 2017. Images are courtesy of the author.
Wachu is a natural hair enthusiast who works as a Museum Designer and is also a natural hair consultant at Amadiva Beauty. She is a co-founding Admin of the group Kurlly Diaries and Afro diaries 254. She is also a blogger and lover of life.