Remember when Indie Arie’s song “I am not my hair” first came out? I loved that song, even back in those days of Ugandan school “nothing longer than 0.5cm” hair policies. I still love it I think, but these days I like to put a caveat, alongside the statement:
I am NOT my hair, but I AM my hair.
I last used relaxer at age 6, before my teachers bullied my Ma into cutting off my hair for school and when I did eventually leave Namagunga, I never thought of “treating my hair”. So while technically I have been natural for 15 years, I normally only count the 5 that I’ve grown my hair out in.
This year, I cut off (most of) my hair. It was one of those impromptu things that I’d been saying I’d do for a couple of months, so when Vaal took me to this Ugandan hairdresser in Beijing, I told him to do more than the usual trim I got after a professional wash – I asked him to cut it off till he thought it was alright. Maybe he was a tad scissor-happy, maybe not. What matters is that after so many years of loathing the fact that I couldn’t grow my hair longer than a certain non-length…I liked cutting it off again – on my own terms. But I think it’s because, with this haircut, not everything was shaved off so my enkoona (what’s the English word for that?) aren’t standing out conspicuously.
So about Indie Arie’s song. While I prefer to not be judged on any front by the state of my hair, I also do like people to know that my hair is a major aspect of my identity. Any naturalista will tell you exactly just how much time we spend on our hair (clue: it’s A LOT). Most girls I know love talking about how much they love (or are trying to love) their hair. So yes, I am my hair. It’s a part of who I am, and I think everybody should love their crown in whatever form it is. Weave, natural, wig, braids, dreadlocks, swazz, janet cut or shaolin, dyed or not, 4c or 3a. It’s yours, it’s you, love it and wear it with proud. And everyone else that has an unsolicited comment about your hair should just shut it!
I wear mine in knot-outs a lot these days since the cut. If Vaal is reading this: honey, I finally learnt how to do neat-ass Bantu knots!!! I do them on the days I have less classes, but usually the weekends, keep them in for a day, headscarf it or not, and then undo the twists in time for class on Monday. Hence my usual look is a fluffy knot-out that I absolutely adore because my hair feels like what clouds would feel like if I could touch them. Here’s some pictures of the process.
♥ – MA
PS: My Ma says I need to stop taking embarrassing selfies. I’m paying heed, obv.
PPS: So I was googling the lyrics for I Am Not My Hair to jam to while I was writing this, and I run across this post from last year’s 7-day challenge for UG bloggers! >> www.etemperance.wordpress.com/2014/10/16/i-am-not-my-hair-day4-ugbloggers7day/ << The post is I Am Not My Hair by Evelyn Masaba. She’d just cut her hair off recently too. It was written for the Thursday too, such a coincidence!