A week ago, I was feeling sick because of something unusual
Ever since I was a little girl, I have always hated tight braids and hairstyles. I never saw the point. I still don’t. All this philosophy of beauty is pain and whatnot is not for me. My sisters and brothers in Kinky hair know exactly what I mean. Yeah, let’s come back to the present.
I went to the market to relock my dreads but my hairdresser wasn’t in. The girl helping her in the saloon referred me to another shop upstairs. I shouldn’t have cheated on my hairdresser. I paid for it with my well-being. This new person was like a witch from my grandma’s stories. Suddenly, those childhood tales were now real. My scalp was aflame with pain like a thousand soldier ants were biting all over it. Unrelenting, the prickling, throbbing, and general feeling of being morose. I had a bad headache and did not sleep that first night. I cried, begged for sleep, and poured cold water over my head repeatedly until day break. The next morning, a fever followed. I have forgotten the last time I allowed myself into such discomfort in the name of ‘beauty’.
After being close to tears for the whole day at work, I was advised to take some painkillers. Which I was naturally reluctant to, but I did, — I was desperate. Slowly, I felt the pain abating and I was able to doze off for some hours before the drug’s effect wore off. Now, I only have slight discomfort. But this experience taught me a couple of lessons.
- We have romanticised pain. You do not have to be in agony for something to be beautiful. Be it a hairstyle, dress, shoe, friendship or relationship. Yes, pain is inevitable, but it is not the hallmark of perfection and genuineness— please miss me with that. I don’t want to be near exploding with agony trying to be pretty and well-put-together.
- Speak up when you are in pain. I always felt ashamed whenever I cried because of how painfully my hair was being pulled. We are encouraged and even bullied to swallow the pain like champs. No dears, I am soft. I have made peace with it. My scalp is very sensitive, if you think me a baby, that’s your business. But I am not about the life of suffering unnecessary pain in silence again. Thank you. If it hurts, I will tell you.
- Being in a tight spot can steal so much from you. Your health, sleep, joy, strength, focus and even creativity. Is it worth it? — All that tightness that they say is beauty or perfection. I don’t know about you, but for me, it isn’t. So guard your heart(scalp or whatever you have that is prone to tightness).
- Your journey is yours to make. And it is more beautiful when you make it alongside others. It makes it easier to bear some burdens. When I was little, if my hair was made too tight, my mother will help me loosen the roots until I found relief. It upset my dad whenever I started crying about a tight hairstyle-he’ll tell them to take it off. They wanted to offer me ease in a pain only I bore.
- No be me go tell you wetin you go do. But I trust that my story about this affliction has stirred something in you about a personal kind of tightness or difficulty; pain or discomfort. I trust that you will choose well when it is time. Until then, I am managing my hair and rethinking a lowcut.