It’s a long vacation, the only time I could get my hair done since it was the fashion to have your hair cut low when you were in school irrespective of your gender in the 1990s! With the exception of a few private and International Schools. Since the choice was left at the discretion of the parents, my mom especially would only have me do it on vacations.
Excited, I rushed off to a hairdresser who was a family friend to have my hair braided in cornrows. Cute hairstyle and part of my hair falling on the sides of my head. With many beautiful compliments on how good I looked, I hurried off to play and show my friends. “Do you have hair extensions added to your hair-do?” one big girl asks me. “No, it’s all my hair”. ” You’re lying, that’s not all your hair ” and that was the first time I was told that statement. No matter how much I affirmed her, she wouldn’t believe me. With teardrops in my eyes, I set a distance and joined my other friends. How dare he call me a liar. I tell you, child bully was real!
Now fast forward to my early twenties, I was going to hear this statement again and again. Then I started learning more about my own hair. It was dense and thick! The negative comments that came with it; ‘it’s too much when you leave it on, you have to tame it, you have to hold it all in a ponytail..etc.(as if that was my doing). Here I was a few years after relaxing my hair, and people appreciating how beautiful my hair looked and how you can do so much with it. It was understandable that my permed hair looked like weave so I get used to the sarcastic statement “you’re lying, that’s not all your hair”. But what I never thought I will hear after going natural was; ” is that your real hair”?. Now I answer with an indifferent “yes”, because I don’t know the next comment to follow. However what I took as words of a bully at a young tender age of 7years were now words of compliments and only pointing out a conspicuous part of myself, my identity and accepting who I am.