WHEN MY HAIR REDEFINES MY HERITAGE…
Living abroad is a great life experience, an opportunity to discover new countries, new cultures and way of lives but it also comes with its loads of little problems for instance to adapt into a new system, language, mentality and the list goes on. When I first landed in France for the first time in my life, coming from Lebanon, the country I was born and raised in, I had long box braids, having been natural for almost 3 years, I have chosen to stop using perms. A moral colonialism in my eyes and a physical torture to my scalp.
My hair naturally grew, oops it just didn’t grow, it blossomed shouting for water, care, patience and mostly love. LOVE, oh how in-love I am with my natural hair, I’m sure natural sisters and brothers out there can relate with the sensation of love and FREEDOM that accompanies the natural hair journey.
Unfortunately, my beautiful box braids couldn’t last for long, so, one day as I was walking in the new city were I moved in, I saw this African salon, I invited myself in to ask if the hairdresser fixes box braids (my favorite hairstyle at the time), I got a positive response until I asked for the cost. Taram Taram Taram the salon owner hits me with a 160 Euros. ‘’ Oh okay, thank you, I will pass by another time’’. As you can imagine, I never passed, 160 Euros is a lot of money for me. So I had to do protective styles with my own hair which wasn’t a big deal apart from the cold during winter.
Spring then summer showed up, I started wearing my Afro, I noticed that people of African heritage would not believe that I’m a 100% African due to my hair texture. According to my ‘’hair texture ‘’ I became categorized as a biracial. What a surprise! Some people assumed I was from the DOM-TOM (French overseas departments and territories). It was a funny sensation, suddenly, due to my hair texture I had to have ‘’white’’ blood running somewhere down my veins! Most people of African heritage assumed I was bi-racial (hey it was a fact, an indisputable truth, I was by force bi-racial), on another hand European ‘’white’’ people loved my natural hair, or didn’t care or know the natural hair world. I suddenly and non-intentionally found myself blurring the lines of my own African identity.
My hair is my hair, it defines my self, my own identity, my genes and my desire to be natural. It is a choice.
Peace and Godbless xx