At the age of four the song “Chutney Bacchanal” by Trinidad’s Chris Garcia was permeating through the airwaves. I loved that song and the man with ‘the hair’ behind it. (I wanted hair that silky – so long and flowing).
By the age of six, I was travelling frequently with my family to the States. I lived for the excitement associated with visiting a different country – the packing, the airports and the journey. But my highlight back then was interacting with the flight attendants. These slender beauties with well made up faces and long flowing hair. (Oh, the hair!)
Fast forward to the age of seven and my mother began a series of two-strand twists with a semblance too close to her own locs, much to the displeasure of the religious primary school I was attending. Needless to say, after one note too many, she visited the school and that was the last time I saw the building.
By the age of eight, during my playtime, I adorned my crown with t-shirts and modelled my way through our home garden. The plants and flowers would clap as I ripped the gravel runway.
Around age 10, I was of the strong belief that ‘straight’ was better and the bathroom sink saw me every 6 weeks resisting the burning of that ‘pink stuff’ as I battled my way to shoulder-length hair.
On the other side of S.E.A was a sea of girls dressed in uniforms and varying hairstyles. To be mixed meant you were favoured for that “good hair” and I was disqualified from that race a long time ago when my parents met. So braids became a thing.
But at age 12, between the stress of maintaining extensions and power-pointing the importance of keeping up with the latest hair trends to my non-negotiable parents, I opted to join my mother on her loc journey.
For the next 14 years of my life I would fall madly in love with my hair. I’d admit I started locs for all the wrong reasons. But something about those tightly woven strands made me feel powerful. It became my identity and I embraced it fully. I would be known as ras, rasta barbie, loc queen and every other derivation of the word. My locs were me and I – it.
This would all come to a crashing halt at the age of 26 when a dye touch up resulted in weekly hair shedding rituals. I camped in denial for months. Thinning locs that no potion of oil and prayers could save. In a panic I remember reaching out to a loctician and her words echoed throughout my body, “You have to cut it in order to save it”.
Here I was scissors in hand as the blonde boulders tumbled down in my near Sampson moment. I would have given anything at that point to return to the moment right before that last dye appointment. The irony of dye literally killing my hair. Somewhere in there was a life lesson that I would learn over the next two years.
I had to sit with myself, sit beside myself , sit and face myself in the mirror and grow to accept, like, then love what I saw looking back at me. This did not come easy and on top of that, I had to figure out what to do with my hair!
So many options, and I had no clue where to begin. Unsure of what could work and what couldn’t, I stumbled upon ‘Hub for Natural Hair.’
This subscription based gift box was a way for me to test out different hair products monthly. I’ve had so much fun with this new journey of growth. And I think having the opportunity to be guided in this way helped boost my confidence. So whether I’m rocking my afro, a twist out or curls – my identity , my strength doesn’t come from the style I choose, but from me. And as the song says , ‘I am not my hair , I am not this skin but I am the soul that lives within’.