I wrote a letter to my hair back in the spring of 2016. The photo accompanying that post actually went viral but that isn’t why I did it. Or why we are back here. I wrote the letter because after more than 10 years of relaxing my hair I had finally come to terms with what grows out of my scalp. Even after being natural for couple of years, I still didn’t truly love my hair and hid it under faux locs and yarn braids. And then almost 3years ago I had a moment of clarity and I have never looked back from that.
The launch of my AudioBlog has inspired me to dig into the archives and that is when I stumbled across my letter. I thought it would be cute to re-write it with 2019 eyes, I thought it would be cute to record me reading it and then I thought it would be cute to take a new picture
Have a read below or click here to hear me reading it out loud x
To the thing I never understood,
To the one thing I wanted to change about myself so desperately I burnt my scalp every 4-6 weeks for 10 years. I can sit and laugh now but I remember the agony of trying to hold out the last few minutes so you really would be DEAD STRAIGHT.
I remember the hairdresser getting angry with me because I winced each time she pulled where my scalp was burnt or hot-combed my ear-lobe.. “This is what it takes to be beautiful”
I would hear that so often that I really started to believe that my hair, my poor damaged,, shrivelled hair was the reason I was ugly.
I need to tell you that I am sorry, sorry for laughing at jokes aimed at my ‘nappy’ hair and not saying anything to defend you, the thing is I believed them when they told me you were a flaw. For pulling at you and poisoning you because other people taught me that you just weren’t good enough, I can only apologise again. I’m sorry for feeling obliged to explain to people that I don’t have ‘typical’ mixed race hair when they are confused that my sisters texture is so different to mine(what even is mixed hair btw???)
I am sorry for counting down the days until I could get my re-growth fixed.
That’s the thing; there is no fixing you, There’s nothing wrong.
In all your complexity and I couldn’t ask for more. More variety, more volume, more upper arm muscles because wash day will always require strength!
It has taken me quite a while to truly appreciate and embrace you, and even though I believe I have started to make up for all of the years of abuse. I wanted to make it official and put it in a letter. This is to my afro:
A question has been circling in my mind for quite some time now, how can I be ashamed of something that is mine and mine alone?
It’s is a waste of time to hate something that is so beautiful and natural, something that represents not only me but my culture and history and something that is out of my control. I took the easy way out for so long, I conformed and tried to fit into a mould that just wasn’t made for me, but now? I choose to stand out.
I didn’t realise when I decided to embrace my natural tresses that I would be faced with opposition, it made me question whether or not you were truly right for me, whether straight hair did in fact ‘suit’ me better as so many people said.
Snide comments and stares followed me around when I first let you flourish and it isn’t that they have now stopped. I have just stopped caring, stopped looking and stopped listening out for the opinions.
I have learnt, with your help, what is truly important. And it isn’t what others tell me.
I have made the decision to stop being ashamed and to stop apologising. Stop apologising to overwhelmed hairdressers who roll their eyes when the see my hair is natural . Stop apologising to people standing behind me at gigs. I’ve stop trying to convince people that honestly, it really is bra-strap length; its just the shrinkage, I swear!
At this point I would like to make a toast to the “Your Hair Doesn’t Suit You Like That-ers” and the “Are You Sure You’re Mixed Race-ers” because without them, I probably would’n’t have had to convince myself how special my crown is,. Maybe this is the way it was meant to be, my hand HAD to be forced. Who knows maybe if I hadn’t spent so long hiding you away your blossom wouldn’t be as impressive.
You may not be as silky as others, and you definitely don’t grow as fast as some I know but you’re mine; and that is all I can ask for. You do not require me to be thinner, you don’t ask me to be taller or anything other than myself so I will treat you the same way.
You have taught me to take risks, to delve further into the scary territory of not caring what others think and to come out on the other side the most confident version of myself.
You have taught me to love every inch of myself right down to your coiled ends and back up again to your fluffy-not-so-fleeky-even-though-we-try edges, because like you I am strong.
So here *raises glass* is to the 3, 4, A, B, C’s and all of the in-betweens. Here is to our daughters growing up proud because we have shown them a way other than reaching for the creamy crack.
It starts with us so please believe me when I say that your hair; whether long, short, shrunk or stretched is beautiful just the way it is.
And here is to my hair, it may take us a little longer to get ready in the morning, but I love you bro ❤
Link to original letter: here