Fighting follicular colonisation!

I stole this title from an article by the Wordsbody herself, Molara Wood, who by the way I hear is editing the issue of Farafina my story has been accpeted for. It’s a small world. I’m going to attempt to keep this post on the light side. Of course, considering the title it has the potential to become another tirade on race and Afrocentrism (I think I really like this word. It makes me imagine that a Pax Africana is possible).

I have a perm. I came to America from Ghana with a perm. Every female I know in Ghana from age six to sixty and beyond has a perm. There a few exceptions: girls in Senior Secondary Schools who as a rule have to sport a short, natural, boyish haircut. I had to come to America to see black women with natural hair. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen it all: dreadlocks, sisterlocks, afros, twisties, braids. Of course I got interested and started talking to these women. My conclusion: they love their hair. They love themselves. And so I am going natural. I still have my perm but I haven’t relaxed my hair in four months. I don’t think I was ever completely decided until now. I suppose everyone has their reasons for doing this. Mine are simple: I don’t feel like putting burning chemicals in my hair anymore. My new motto is “if you won’t put it on your skin, don’t put it in your hair.” And that applies to all those gummy hair pomades too. It’s taking me a while to love myself. You see, I go through these phases sometimes that begin with a bad hair day and stretch for months, ending in me not appreciation an inch of my body.

But I’m starting to feel good again. When I go back to Ghana at Christmas, my hairdresser will be positvely livid. I don’t think any Ghanaian hairdressers really know what to do with natural hair except perhaps glare at the owner and promptly produce a box of hair relaxer. I have never done anything daring in my life (well except for that one time I went on a kiddie water ride at Six Flags.) But I’m doing this. I don’t know what I’ll look like, and I fear the transition stages may not be too great. Already it takes considerable effort to look presentable with a dying perm and a couple of inches of natural hair underneath. So I am taking a great leap of faith.

I WILL fight follicular colonisation! I WILL be nappy and happy!