Photo credit: Wura (my sister took this over six years ago)

What You Have is Gold: Kinky Hair Diary

My name is Oluwatomisin and I have had hair since I was born. These days people say my hair is natural, I say my hair is kinky. I did not take note of how precious my hair was until recently. It was just part of me and my mother took gentle care of it. Then when I was five we started going to hairdressers who would pull my hair and it hurt a lot! That’s when I noticed I did not really like my hair so much.

I would watch movies and notice the wispy, silky quality of the actresses. My hair was never very kinky, it’s actually softer than most people’s hair but it still hurt sometimes. I did not hate it but I did not like it enough to flaunt it.

Throughout high school I was one of those who pined after relaxed hair, the straight and seemingly beautiful. Not the kinky unruly hair that got ‘untidy’ quickly. You couldn’t style natural hair and it made you look rough and scruffy (so I thought).

Those that had to do our hair (my sister and I) would complain about how our hair was too much. Sometimes somebody would out of the blue say they really liked my hair. It was long, thick and full.

In my first year at university I covered up my hair with hats, weaves or I did braids. I was never really proud of it. The only things that had kept me from cutting or relaxing it were my parents, fear of change or laziness.

My parents reminded me consistently about how when I was a baby my brother cried when they wanted to cut my hair. He wouldn’t allow them to do it, so they didn’t. I figured doing something to my hair would also be a betrayal of what he had fought for so many years ago.

It was not until three years ago when I noted the rise of the natural movement and I began to believe in the need for the stop of the oppression of black women that I valued what I had. I realized that black women felt inadequate for some reason, well I felt this way, I can’t speak for all black women.

This picture was taken the first time I went to school with my hair ‘styled’. I received so many complements that I decided, this was for me. My hair was given to me for a reason and my hair is beautiful. After this for over a year I did practically nothing but twist outs and the like.

What factors helped my newly confidence in my hair?

My family: My father didn’t want to see any form of straightening done to our even if it was by hot comb. Every time I threatened to cut my hair my brothers would say :don’t come crying to me when you want to go out and you have no hair to make you look nice’. My sister had gone more years natural, so why not me?

Compliments: the ladies and gentlemen that did not keep mum about my hair and voiced out how beautiful it is gave me great courage. This made me realize that giving out compliments doesn’t take anything from you but adds to you and the person you have complimented. I have started complimenting people myself, on their hair, perfume and anything that they do well.

Freedom From Oppression (Self realization): Hair is not the whole of it though. The real movement is the realization that black is beautiful even if we cannot blush, have unruly hair and full lips. The understanding that we have a voice that needs to break out of its suppression is the real movement. Be confident with what you have because what you have is: GOLD.

Photo credit: Oyin (brother)

Your smile, your skin, your character, your eyebrows, your lips, your body, your mind, your spirit, and your hair is uniquely yours. No matter what length your hair is, it’s still great in it’s natural form. It’s made for you to suit you. So stop complaining about breakage, length or color.

Thank you for reading this. Please recommend it to those around you by sharing and clicking on the heart. Watch out for my historical hair background next in the Kinky hair diary series.