I stand here a very confused woman.
Yesterday, I was so sure I would never in my life wear hair that was not mine, unless it was braided.
The other day, I found myself proudly wearing a wig that apparently turned a few heads. People who had never given me a second look were now asking for my number and I started to wonder what difference unnatural hair brings to one’ s looks.
The person I was before trying out the unnatural hair believed that people who put on weaves and wigs were fake like the hair on their heads. The thing I hated most was the cheap and visibly fake weaves that had a long line in the middle. I also hated the ones where the natural hair would be poking out from underneath the ‘horse hair’.
I hated the woman who wore a red or purple weave/wig because I thought that was just ridiculous, black woman should not under any circumstances wear a colour that hideous.
Rife with hypocrisy, I made life hell for my friends who were at the time brave enough to wear weaves. I told them how disappointed I was in them for ditching their natural hair for the near western look.
They had naturally beautiful hair I said, so why opt for fakes that made them look fake when they could just be first rate versions of themselves. I am ashamed to say I made them feel ridiculous for putting on weaves. I was so sure that weave- ons and the likes were a disgrace to African women. Everywhere you went, be it on public transport, in a conference or just an ordinary sitting, literally one in every 5 Batswana women would be wearing hair that was not their own.
Admittedly, on some it looked so good it could pass off as their own.
You see, the judgmental person I was was also the same person who changed their hair colour every two weeks because I hated my natural hair colour for reasons known only to my sub-conscious.
I was also the same person who hated how kinky my hair looked if I didn’t relax it with chemicals that could be potentially harmful to the scalp.
In a nutshell, my hair wasn’t as natural as I would have wanted it to be.
I was jealous of the AfricanÔÇôAmerican women I saw on television until I found out they too were wearing hair extensions or something to that effect. I think that is when I gave up and succumbed to the virus that attacked most black women out there.
Actually I think it was right about the time I was fresh out of school and had to dress in a more professional manner in a bid to seek employment, I didn’t want to have to change my funky short hairstyle for boring push backs and buns so I opted for a fake fringe.
I was miserable when I wore it until I got a million compliments on my new look; that’s when the confidence was boosted and I thought weaves were not so bad after all.
My new found relief was, however, short-lived when a couple of my mixed race friends, both boys and girls, commented on how oriental I looked.
They talked about how black women seemed like they would like to be seen as anything but black, especially where hairstyles were concerned.
I was mad as hell, what the hell did they know about bad hair; they inherited their white parents’ ‘good’ hair, I said.
Just when I was about to voice my opinion I realized that I was of the same attitude as before I tried out my new fake hair. I now realized how my friends must have felt when I grilled them for their hair choices, that is when I realized that nothing in life is certain, not even values.
I also learnt not to judge people’s choices unless you have stepped in their shoes for a minute.
Even though I don’t wear the wig anymore I have learnt to tolerate whatever hair choices people make for themselves.