It was a cold evening in September 2015 in Yaoundé and I just sat there…staring at all that hair in the mirror. It was indeed lovely. Many people admired my long dark and thick hair. Every time I visit the hair salon someone must ask what village I come from and when I say “Bafut” the reply stays the same “No doubt you have a full head of hair”.
I don’t know how true that is but I just go with it. I stared some more at myself in the mirror and observed for a while the beautiful hair dangling just above my shoulder . “Are you sure you want to cut it all down?” I’ve been asking myself that all week.
My stress levels at this time of my life was probably more than Britney Spears when she cut all her hair in 2000 (and something) I had sunk into some form of depression I think. I lost a lot of kgs and was looking like something from a scary movie. I couldn’t stand human voices or crowds let alone hair salons. The feeling of my hair on my head felt like an extra weight I had to carry everyday . I needed to breathe and somehow it felt like the only way to do that was to cut it all off. Thank the gods of fashion and black history for making “team natural” trendy just around this time.
I had an ex boyfriend who owned a bisexual hair salon. He cuts hair too occasionally as a hobby (Did I already say he’s a jack of many trades and master of them all?? Yup! I always knew how to pick them momma! 😂winks*😝😜😉) I wanted him to do the honors and take it all off. He cut my hair twice (trimming edges) when we dated back in the university and he had begged me to shave “punk” (that’s how we call the will smith fresh prince of Bel Air look around here) and I always said No. He was however very unavailable around that time and I was tired of waiting . It was 6:30pm on the 20th of September 2015 when I walked into a barbershop in my neighborhood. Of course it was flooded with guys and they all stopped chatting when I walked in. I knew I looked terrible but the look on their faces? …My God! Let’s just say it’s something I’ll never forget.
I quietly took a seat and waited for my turn. The barber, a short almost bald man with sleepy eyes in his 40s asked “Ma Cheri Tu cherche ton gar? Il est parmi les molas si? Ou bien Tu veux quelque chose?” He asked while laughing . “ouais. Je veux me raiser. Tu va tout enlever” I replied. He said ok and I continued I waiting for my turn. Then 20 minutes later, it was here. I sunk into the chair mindful of the annoying noise from a switched on shaving machine hovering over my head. It was time to get my relief. A new me was about to be born and I was about to be connected with my origin (the African Afro of olden times) and I felt excitement in my belly as the barber used his scissors to cut the lengthy hair before using his machine to take what was left down. All done! I opened my eyes and there I was…looking like my 14 -year -old self way back in that boarding school. I loved it. I thanked the barber so much he probably felt he did more than just cut my hair.
Then my new journey began: Team Natural. It was more than just a look to me. It was a second chance to do/be better and develop a self-love so big no one can ever take it away. I have tendered to my fro for 16 months now and i have no plans of stopping anytime soon. I know a girl who cut her hair after a bad breakup and another cause she wanted to “begin Again” in life. Also know another who cut her hair and lost a ton of weight to mark “a new and improved her”. To others it is self acceptance and also a decision to love and cherish themselves for who themselves for who really are. To others it is a form of rebellion against a society that promotes artificial beauty more than what’s truly,naturally ours! So Whenever you see a girl rocking her natural fro there just might be a back story or not but either ways, the Afro is much more than just a look to many people.
And you, what is your #AfroStory?