I don’t know where to begin this story actually… My whole life I’ve been both loving and hating my afro hair. I was born in Kinshasa, DRC some decades ago. And when I was 4, we moved to Belgium for the work of my dad. My mom always braided mine and my sister’s hair, to not waste any time in the morning. By the age of 10 I had my first braids made with extensions. Since all my girlfriends had long hair I wanted to have that as well. It was a big deal for me to blend in at that time, with my natural afro hair I just looked so different than my caucasian friends. I guess it just made me feel uncomfortable!
Extensions are a no-go
In my twenties I spent so much money on expensive Brazilian extensions. If I look back at it right now it would have been a way better option to just put it on my bank account or go traveling instead. Another major downside were the hairdressers pulling my hair so hard while ‘taking care’ of it. And on top of that I used chemicals to straighten my hair, I didn’t want to make a messy impression while applying for a job. All these bad treatments damaged my hair of course…
Wigs as a temporary solution
I started wearing wigs 4 years ago. A handy solution despite the fact that my real hair still was suffocating underneath. Once again I wanted to make things easy, but for who? One day I was browsing the web and saw millions of women rocking their natural hair and being happy. On that specific moment I decided letting go of extensions and wigs would become my goal.
Slowly but surely I stopped wearing wigs for my natural hair to breathe and to be exposed to daylight. Compared to straight hair, afro curls really need sunlight to grow. So when you live in a cold(er) environment it’s even more essential to take good care of them. While I was getting used to my natural look I coped with another little downside. People around me were obsessed with my frizzy hair and tried to touch it whenever I was around. I just felt like a puppy most of the time!
Afro is now cool
To make a long story short… I never really let me love myself while the main focus was blending in. Today things have luckily changed, everything I was feeling uncomfortable about when growing up became a trend.
- The braids
- The extensions
- My round bottom
- My curly eyelashes
- The African prints my mother was wearing
I guess the world is finally evolving. Thanks to important role models and many celebrities who made these features look cool. People with afro hair like me don’t want to hide anymore and pretend being someone they are not. They just want to be free!