Growing up, I was constantly told by my mum that I had the worst hair of all my siblings. It is thinner and finer than the hair of all the others. In fact, what constitutes a full puff of my hair would usually be just one katutwa on my sister’s hair. My hair was in fact soo fine that Lice always failed to find nooks and coils in which to create habitats.
So, she actively encouraged me to adopt styles that hid my hair and concealed my forehead, which she also told me was too prominent. I know that my mum meant well but how she went about teaching me to work with my body had the counter effect of a self-hating relationship with my hair.
Today, I make it a conscious practice to not insult or abuse any part of my son’s body. When I do insult him, I tell him to “stop looking at me with his beautiful large eyes and step away from me”
Anyhow, because these unfiltered messages came from my mum, I grew up believing the lie that my hair was not good or nice. My peers can attest to how careless I was with my hair routines when I was growing up.
So, I abused it with sometimes very severe styles to escape the projected lie that it was ”Not Good Enough”. I coloured it ginger, blue, red, green, white and brown. In between, I would shave myself Shaolin bald.
Please note that I do look stunningly beautiful with these looks but the underlying motivation in my younger years was simple erasure from a place of insecurity about my actual hair.
In 2017, I went on a personal journey of self-affirmation and love. I have cut my hair twice since and started to self-love and reaffirm its beauty. There are other parts of my body that I am learning to love anew. Maybe I will tell you about them someday.
Today I walked into office and a colleague decided to redo my lines which I had not done neatly enough. Then she took this picture. I was sincerely surprised by the beauty of my own natural hair.
Dear Parents and Guardians, Mothers and Fathers; practice a positively affirming love with those in your care. Do not objectify your children into self-hate then cry foul when they feed into the self-hate stereotype you have raised them with.
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