Hair!

My mom claims she knew I’d be born with a lot of hair because throughout her 2nd and 3rd trimester, her belly button and the area around it hurt. A few hours after my birth, my father ran off to market to get an Afro comb for new born me. Hair I do have. Lots of it – from my head down to my toes and no, I do not have PCOS. All genetics here.

As a child, I dreaded the experience of getting my hair done. The pain, the boils I’d get on my nape after getting my hair done and the complaints of the hairstylists about my crying and the thickness of my hair was a lot for me to handle. At the age of 7, I tearfully pleaded with my mom to cut off all my hair and she did. It was probably the most liberating feeling I ever experienced. At the age of 13, I decided to grow it out again but this time, I turned to chemical relaxers for assistance in straightening my coils to make my hair a bit more manageable. It worked!

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…and then it failed. In moving to Canada, my hair revolted somewhat. Perhaps it was the dryness of the weather or the dietary change but my hair gave up. In 2018, I chopped it all off and started again. This time, without the use of relaxers. It’s been a love-hate experience. While I have come to accept the texture of my coils and its subtle but visible representation of my ‘Africanness’, I have little to no knowledge and skill in handling it. What’s worse is the lack of Afro-Carribean salons to cater to my desperate need. The few that do exist, especially in Vancouver, have such cut-throat exorbitant prices for standard services, that I see myself wanting to reach for my scissors and cut it all off again. What’s been your hair experience?

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