I wanted to be natural for a long time and in August 2004, I decided one fateful night (well in the early hours of the morning anyway), I decided to take the plunge and cut my hair because I wanted hair just like my shero, Kelis. Uh-uh! Think of the sound from the game show, “Family Fortunes”, when you get an answer wrong – computer says no!
It became almost immediately clear that Kelis and I did not share the same hair texture and I started regretting my hasty decision to take out my braids and then cut my hair. I struggled for a year and finally admitted defeat in July 2005 just before my university graduation ceremony because I wanted to look nice and have my hair look “done”.
Fast forward to July 2009. That was when I had my last relaxer. I start transitioning, even though I didn’t know that was what it was called then and decided on 9 January 2010 to go to the barber’s and shave my head. Only thing was that the barber decided to use my head as a showpiece and shaved off all my new growth and left me a nice hightop. Grace was born!
I’ll be honest, I had to fake it for a while until I actually felt confident rocking the cut. I kept asking my siblings whether I had made a tragic mistake but my brother (bless him!) just kept saying “it’s fine, you don’t look like a dude!”. Yeah I invested in many big BIG earrings to ensure that on first sight, people would at least assume I was a girl. I started to love the cut, so much so I proceeded to go on shaving my hair every six weeks until May 2010, just before my brother’s wedding when I decided to go properly funky with my cut. It is a decision I deeply regret having seen the wedding photos.
Post that fateful cut, I have been growing Grace steadily and we recently celebrated our third nappiversary. I’ve done lots with her, we’ve got highlights twice (yay!) and henna as well (big boo!). I’m back with the highlights and loving them. Neither the highlights nor the henna made any difference to my texture I’m happy to report. However, my advice to anyone who ever wants to colour their hair – don’t use henna lest you want to end up with a green head…or some other nightmare!
Grace is a bit of a diva. She is a law unto herself. In a battle between Grace and I, I lose every single time. So I’ve decided to hand over the reins to her and just love her as her. Since going natural, I feel quite free when I’m out and about and Grace is free and easy in whatever style, doing her thing. I’m getting to be my true me, just as the good Lord made me. India Arie says she is not her hair. Well, Grace is a fundamental part of me – she is me and I am her – so though you may need to delve deeper to get insight into the soul that lies within, I’m sure you will be able to glean some clues from an encounter with Grace.