For the past 25 years I’ve loved you and loathed you, I’ve praised you and stroked you, then burnt you and broke you.
You brought me on a turbulent hair journey from birth when Cradle cap crept in, the yellow, greasy and scaly patches left on my young tender scalp worried us all, but you weren't harmful to me or part of any illness. This was the first indication that you were sensitive and vulnerable, but if that wasn't enough of a warning, alopecia areata, a condition in which the immune system attacks the hair follicles wanted to let you know at just 12 months old how precise you were. You became a growing concern for my parents, only later to learn that this was common for young children.
Having not known the facts of the condition, it was all natural products to help nourish you, you were cared for tremendously by others so that you would grow back and the bold patches would disappear. I knew you were always an attention seeker and as you grew you certainly lived up to that. By age Six you flourished like a Wild Sunflower seed and I fell in love with you and all the admiration that came with it.
The praises, compliments and envy had me feeling like a superstar with the finished blown out result, and I loved you in those moments. The only problem is the hours it took to get to that result, I felt like you turned your back on me. How could you be so thick, and knotty, dry and picky, short and kinky when I watered and cleaned you? I used the widest toothed comb and still you weren't satisfied. You were selfish and stubborn, made me cry and got me in trouble on numerous occasions. Every now and again I won the battle, but you certainly won the war.
That was it, no more fighting, you were going to be encased in extensions and braids until you were able to comply with my mother's patients, which worn thin. Sitting on the cold floor, in between her legs completely at her mercy. The pulling and tugging, parting and 'pap' of the comb against my skull, the hours spent in the same position just so she didn't have to see you for at least 4 weeks or sometimes more was worth it in her eyes, and only worth it for me if I was able to include the coloured highlights. We bought packets of Brown, Blue and Red, but Purple was my favourite. All the kids in school were jealous of your new make-over, which became your permanent outfit until the day I wanted to rekindle my love with you.
I was grown now you see, I was 14 years old and capable of loving you, so I thought! I mean, I did love you, didn't I?
I loved you so much so I wanted to give you a boost, unaware of the impact beauty standards were having on me. I thought I was doing you a favour because Black looked so boring on you, you needed a bit of a pick me up and that's what Brown was going to do for you. You also didn't fit in with the crowd, you were too big and poofy, I wanted you to look as sleek as everyone else, so the flat irons were introduced.
Straight and Brown, now this is a level up, but staying true to you, we needed more attention, Brown was basic level One and we needed to go up a gear. I loved you so much, I just wanted the best for you, I wanted you to look good, and I had so much fun spending time with you. You were in a league of your own so I coloured you blonde, several times and straightened you, everyday!
This was it, a match made in heaven. I felt beautiful, and to me you looked great and you fit in. who knew the truth behind my 'happiness' was due to the result of finally reaching the target of European beauty standards, Blonde, straight, and past shoulder length hair, Tick!
I want to apologise for mistreating you for so many years, and although I know it was wrong, I loved you the only way I knew how.
A true apology must begin with accountability, and I acknowledge and accept the fact that actually, I didn't love you the way I said I did because I spent several years trying to change you. Truth is you're beautifully and wonderfully made, and so many people wished they had you.
In all your complexity, you're perfect. From the combination of curl patterns, your display, to your ever-changing texture, you're simply magical, even if I pull you and twist you, you spring back into place, you defy gravity and stand tall, as well as standing out from the crowd. You've given my confidence a boost and contributed in changing my mindset. You were the reason my self love journey began and you taught me to love myself unconditionally and naturally.
I am no longer ashamed of showing you to the world, and can't praise you enough for your making me realise just how unique I am.