Think back to that very fist day you discovered the natural hair community online! For me, this was when I was sitting at my dining room table in Nairobi in June 2011, just two months before I was to move to the USA for my undergraduate degree. I googled "How to take care of my African hair in Uni abroad" and the first site that came up was most likely CurlyNikki.com. The memory gets hazy now.
Looking back, almost 4.5 years later, it's funny how such a seemingly mundane Google search has led up to this very moment at which I'm sitting in my apartment in Melbourne in February 2016, sharing 5 of the most important lessons I've learnt as naturalista!
Who would have known that this is where life would lead? I started from the bottom (see pics here) so it really is an honour to share my hair (and life) journey with you!!
Here's what being natural has taught me about life:
1. We don't always have all the answers. We don't have to have it all figured out.
Boy oh boy! Thinking back now to my Big Chop, I don't know how I made the decision to cut off most of my hair with such little knowledge of what was to come ahead. I literally plunged into the natural hair community way before I was fully informed about what I was getting into, because I got tired of seeing my flimsy, limp relaxed ends! I cannot tell you though, just how great it felt to run my fingers through my tiny winy afro. I didn't know how to go about this "natural hair thingy" but I did it anyway.
Isn't that how life is A LOT of the time? Oftentimes we hardly know the outcome of our decisions. Sometimes the only rationale we have in that very moment of decision-making is that it just feels right. And sometimes, gut is all you need to plunge into the deep end.
2. Time heals and repairs all things.
Like split ends and bald spots. And evasive edges! Trust me, I started with a pitiful bunch of strands. I had bald spots on the crown of my head and if you'd seen me then, you'd probably be skeptical as to why I embarked on this natural hair journey in the first place. But as life tends to prove rather often, time heals and repairs all things. Girl, the locks that were once ear length are now waist length. Girl, the bald spots that felt the burn of the sun, are now grown in! *Cue Church Organ* Can we have some church in here?! Hahaha! Can I get an amen?! Haha!
Time heals and repairs all things. Broken hearts. Misplaced dreams. With time, there is regrowth, there is harvest.
3. Consistency and knowledge are key.
Regimen building (see mine here), deep conditioning regularly, protective styling militantly: consistency is paramount to the growth and health of our hair. If we are faithful to the process, we will surely see results. Every 15 minutes you spend moisturising your hair and every hour you spend detangling, pays off. With the right knowledge (such as what I shared here), and steadfast determination, you WILL see results.
Think Beyonce. Think Oprah. Think Michelle Obama. Think Serena Williams. Each of these women is who they are today, because they excelled in consistency. Each of these women is the best in their field, because they acquired the knowledge and skills to set them apart from the rest. Accordingly, in life, we have to put in the hard work. If we consistenly grind, we WILL see results.(Pst- shout out to all the entrepreneurs and hustlers amongst us!)
4. The Power of Community, The Power of Sisterhood
The natural hair community, at its very core, is a group of people (mostly African/African American/Caribbean American/Black Latina/Black women, all inclusive) who are eager to see each other succeed. We spend countless hours sharing hair recipes, writing blog posts, posting inspirational pictures, spurring each other on in our comments...its absolutely phenomenal! By standing together, and having each other's backs, we've built a multi-national, cross-cultural community of self-aware, self-loving women. That's powerful. That's powerful.
And we see this everywhere. When women decide to work together hand in hand, be it in business, chamas (investment groups in Kenya) or even book clubs, we make major headway. We shape worlds, we reshape philosophies, we dream anew.
5. The Power of Self-Love.
The natural hair life, in many ways, is a soul-versation with oneself. Hours spent standing in front of my bathroom mirror, gently working my fingers through my kinks and coils. Hours spent accepting my body. In a world that oftentimes questions its validity, its worth. Hours spent. Loving on me. My dark chocolate skin. My round forehead. My indented hairline. My kinks, coils. Just me. All of me.
Loving oneself as a young woman is one of the most important journeys you could ever embark on. From self-love springs creativity. From self-love springs resistance. Acceptance. Change. Unlearning. Relearning. Giving. Growth. Peace. Contentment. Self-love is foundational. We must look deep within ourselves and lavishly forgive ourselves before we can look to heal the world around us.
Self-love begins when we BELIEVE, without a shadow of a doubt, that we are beautiful. Brilliant. Worth it. Gifted. Worth it. Set apart. Worth it. With purpose. Whole. Forgiven. Special. Captivating.
& A YouTube Vlog!!
Now before I head off, I thought I'd capture a little behind the scenes footage of this rather impromptu shoot! I was actually out with "Mr. Man" for a day of fun, and we saw this writing on the wall and of course, Tabitha saw a runway! Haha! Your girl was strutting it as best as she could! Loll!! But actually, this Vlog here is a little glimpse into our vibe...! ;-)
Believe it. Beam it. Radiate it!
What are some of the most important life lessons you've learnt as a naturalista? What have you loved most about your journey this far? Leave me a note down below, I'd love to know!
LOVE & SUNSHINE!