The warmth of the morning sun gently caressed Nancy’s chocolate skin as she turned lazily in her bed.
After a few minutes, she forced herself to wake up, said her prayers and immediately rushed for the bathroom. She had to be in school in the next thirty minutes.
Taking a slice of toast, she decided to take a mental peep into her day. Nothing special was happening today. Everything was going to be the same; long hours of lectures, tests, lunch and of course the usual taunting from her friends; Tolu, Leila and Oyin. They made it a point of duty to torture Nancy because of her “anyhow hair” like they called it.
Nancy is part of what we call the “Naturalists”. A term used to refer to ladies (mostly African) who keep their natural hair without applying relaxers or any form of softener.
Nancy loved the natural hair but wasn’t the best model for it. Hers always looked a mess.
Thinking of how Tolu and Leila would once again compare her hair to Oyin’s made Nancy cringe as she took a bite into her toast.
Oyin, another of her friends was also a naturalist but very different from her. Oyin’s hair always looked amazing and well kept. Most ladies in their class envied it and always looked forward to the new ways Oyin would style the hair.
Oyin’s hair was an issue for Nancy because it made her own “bad hair” very obvious and their other friends made sure to point it out to Nancy.
She hated comparison but she was gradually getting used to it because there was nothing she could do about her hair.
Or was there?
She had seen a lot of people with hair goals she had always dreamed of and her mum always told her that her hair was the talk of the street when she was a little girl but life just happened and she became a nonchalant teenage girl who wanted to have great grades and make her parents proud.
“I mean how does having a great hair help anyone?” she thought out loud.
“Well that is not my goal but I admire what they carry and how effortlessly they make maintenance look”. She scoffed.
Picking up her bag, her hair styled in her usual bun – packed to conceal her hair’s shortest part ( the middle) -Nancy headed to school.
She was ready to face her group of friends today and she had a watchword to aid that ” Ignore them” And ignoring she did but that didn’t help.
After the weekend gists were laid on the table and heartfelt laughter was shared on their glowing faces, Oyin came and everything changed again. Everyone began to “wow” and “aww” at Oyin’s beautiful hair.
Nancy didn’t have a problem if it stopped at that but they went on to bring her hair into the discussion.
“But Nancy nawa o. See Oyin’s hair. Please do something about yours”
And for some weird reason, their remarks got to Nancy this time even more than the previous times. Sadly, she walked away from her friends.
She was depressed half the class time, and couldn’t wait to get home to her mum – her safe and her happy place.
After what seemed like forever, the bell rang for the day, Nancy hurriedly grabbed her stuff and walked out of her class. As she walked out, the determination to work on her hair was subconsciously building gradually.
She rode on her bicycle slowly reminiscing on the day’s chatter.
As soon as she got home she ran to mum, hugging and narrating her ordeal almost at the same time.
Mum cupped her face and said, ‘You change by the information you hear my dear’. That didn’t make much sense to Nancy immediately until she woke up from her nap.
Mum was doing the dishes when Nancy walked up to her holding a note pad and a pen and began to ask questions.
“What did my hair look like as a child?”
“What made people like it?”
“What did you do to keep it so beautiful?”
And with eyes filled with love, mum answered all her questions. And from all the answers, Nancy deduced a one word theme – LOVE so she asked
“How does love translate to a good hair?”
“Whatever you love, you pay attention to, you care for and you groom. So if you love your hair, you will pay attention to it, care for it, water it, trim it, wash it, do things that make for health for it, ask questions and be sure to put it to work”
Nancy’s face lit up with smiles.
She had gotten information, now it was time for change and with that she decided to implement all she had learned for the next three months and then go for more information.
She was determined to follow them through till she saw changes.
She would need more clarity, so she got mum’s phone, got on the internet and began to google hair stuff.
She was shocked when she saw that the natural hair was even a big deal that had a trending market. She read from diverse blog posts, articles and books and came up with her own Natural hair 10 Commandments:
*1. Always moisturize your hair. Water is the base product of any product. The hair thrives on water, drink a lot of water and moisturize with lot of water too.
*2. Avoid heat as much as possible.
*3. Know your hair type so as to know the products that would work for you.
*4. Eat healthy: A healthy meal reaches all parts of the body and extends nutrients in the right proportion. Fruits and vegetables have strong vitamins and minerals that the hair and body needs thus, a must for beautiful hair.
*5. A clean scalp makes for a healthy growth so wash your hair properly always, weekly or biweekly.
*6. Deep treatments and conditioning – This is a deeper practice of hair maintenance. It penetrates the hair shaft and reaches to the scalp and hair making it healthy and rich.
*7. Be patient with your hair. The same way it takes time to build a house, build a business, it also takes time to see your efforts manifesting. The journey would not be easy but enjoy it.
*8. Trim your hair when necessary. The ends of the hair are the weakest, when split ends and brittleness set in, it’s important to trim to avoid breakage.
*9. Protective styling is necessary to avoid breakage and retain length. Styles like bun, twists, cornrows and the use of wigs would help.
*10. Prayers and positive confessions – If you can pray about anything then the hair is no exception. Pray for your hair and say positive things about itself to it. Shut the naysayers and speak righteous your hair.
… And Nancy’s hair grew!
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