When I was 7, my older sister transferred to a model college in Lagos. This school had strict rules about grooming. Everyone had to resume school with nothing more than an inch of hair on their head.
I remember tagging along as my Dad escorted my sister to the barbers. Watching her cry as her glorious hair piled up on the floor. Up until that moment, I had no idea shaving my head was an option.
I hated the old lady my mum took me to braid my hair every Saturday. Those sessions were nothing less than torture. Having my little head squeezed between her thighs for an hour. My hair being pulled and yanked every which way and the headaches which made me miserable for days.
Seeing my sister’s shaved head was a revelation and I immediately begged my Dad for a haircut. I got my wish 2 days later and I still believe it was the best decision I made as a tween. Bye-Bye Old lady with the stinky thighs.
The Time Of The Million Braids
8 years later, after watching my sisters with their relaxed hair, weaves and million braids, I convinced myself I was missing out on something magical. The first chance I got I installed one of those “Wet n Wild/Shake?Forgot the name”weaves which I rocked to my secondary school graduation feeling like a million bucks.
That weave was the beginning of 5 years of burnt scalps, hairlines vanishing with my go-to hairstyle: teeny twists which took 12 hours to install and 3 months to leave my head. Eventually, I decided enough was enough. I found my way to a reasonably talented stylist and to the shock of everyone in the salon asked him to cut my hair.
It was really touching actually. The stylist asked me if I was okay, strangers begging me not to do it, telling me how much I’d regret my decision once it was done. It felt like I had come in for an abortion.
Needless to say, I was the only one laughing in there that afternoon.
Over the last 2 years since I went “natural”, I grew my hair out to the point where I needed to acquire hair styling skills. Visiting a salon every other week still wasn’t appealing.
I am proud to say I can install Marley twists in my own hair… Thank you very much.
This period was the best time I’ve had with my hair. Until I got tired of the constant aching fingers and found myself reaching for a pair of scissors on a beautiful Saturday morning.