So I’ve been natural for about 9 months now. At least I think I have. I should have marked the date, but I was too busy fuming about the cost of ‘natural’ products (never mind the extortionate shipping cost to get it imported from America), verses the cheap readily available crap I’d been buying from the Indian mans shop since I was old enough to chew gum, that I neglected to mark the date as significant. When I see my natural sisters on the street and watch the blogs (needless to say you know the ones I mean) the girls proudly display the extent to which their gloriously voluptuous locks have grown in as little as three months. My stubborn hair seems have gained in mass, which I didn’t think possible, but not at all in length. Sheeka used to say ‘lord for such a small head you gotta a lot of tough tough hair’ before dousing it in extra strong relaxer to rape my hair of any coarseness, a ‘necessary’ by-product of which was burning a layer of flesh off my face. Err, is it weird that I reminisce upon those days with some tenderness? Especially when I smell the chemical residue on the bus, from a girl who has been recently permed. I look at old pictures of my imitation Belle afro from when I first removed my braids and embraced my fro, you know the finger twists she demonstrates so effortlessly, that somehow takes me half the day to reproduce BADLY (my flatmate calls it the Medusa look)…I repeated the style the other day and I swear my hair is shorter now than eight months ago. How is that possible?
I’ve unashamedly blamed exercise, to the detriment of my thighs and ever expanding waistline. I mean if something is to blame, why not that? The sweat is killing me. After a workout, when I line my hair with my leave in conditioner and then shea butter up for the twists-outs, the shrinkage leaves barely any tresses to grip. Surely after nearly a year, the new growth should be significant enough to prevent this shrinkage from defeating me? Weirdly the little growth there is, is limited to the front, so I have this lopsided fro, leaning unnervingly towards my forehead.
An afro pick and a comb to tease the maximum volume from my twist outs. I start with the thin end of the comb to gently pry apart each twist for volume and then use the afro comb to lift from the root, for maximum height. Granted, I’m not the most delicate of girls and my patience for styling is limited to 30 seconds between dousing my face in Vasaline and running for the bus, but I expect more. The lack of length after days of tiresome twist outs is disconcerting.
A little concoction called ‘Magic Grow’ – I should report the creator to the advertising standards because this product doesn’t grow a damn thing! I saw it on Youtube – It’s a mix of shea butter, olive oil, coconut oil and vitamin e. I put it all in a blender – remembering it’s the dead of winter in the UK so the shea butter is rock hard and hit blend. Almost seconds later as the blades feebly chomped on the hard rock of butter I saw steam. I should have stopped, but my determination for length clouded my judgement and I persevered, to the detriment of my brand new blender, which cackled and popped to an untimely death. I had to move on to the electric hand whisk, which did a far superior job – Not that it matters because the damn cream doesn’t work. R.I.P blender.
Stretching my twist outs, so I pull them back and pin them to prevent the natural unwinding in my sleep. This has helped maintain the curl but true length still evades me. Needless to say it’s also tiresome to remember my pins and more often than not it’s a drain just twisting, so pinning loses out to 5 minutes of extra sleep.
Blow drying with a brush rather than the afro pick and the result was quite spectacular – and not in ‘Beyonce’s thighs at the Super Bowl’ kinda way – My goodness the woman looked hot. Question: When did she start competing with Kelly for skinny thighs? Answer: Post baby, just to make us without children feel worse about our size!
So back to my hair drama… My mum decided to help me out, and in a return to days of old, I sat between her legs like when I was a child, and she mercilessly yanked my hair from my follicles. The result the following day, as I hurriedly prepared for a wedding, in which I was bridesmaid, was this wispy pathetic excuse for an afro. It was so thin it barely stood on end. Okay it achieved height, but with no body. I had to resort to some discarded string from a bunch of flowers to hold it in some semblance of shape before taking to the aisle in accordance with my duties. Needless to say I avoid looking at the wedding photos from that catastrophic day.
I need something to achieve the growth I deserve. I’ve been persevering for months to no avail. Maybe I’ve just been duped by the blogs. Help me!