Foto del día 02-04-2013 a la(s) 19:19

The unexpected pressure on my natural hair in Africa. !Definitely the world is crazy¡

The whole time I’ve lived in Europe,Ihave experienced the pressure of being different. The pressure to have a kind of beauty that did not conform to the standard of the world around me. Being a black woman could become sometimes like trying to climb Everest  in barefoot. But as in all the tests that life puts people one. You finds the necessary tools to overcome or at least try.

After 43 years I have overcome my insecurities most others are still there to remind me  that I’m  not  perfect and others to show  me ,that I am a survivor. But after having understood not without much suffering and  working  in myself acceptance and the world around me.

I have come to understand: that we can’t please everyone or be martyrs and saviors of all causes. The idea of traveling to Africa seemed refreshing  a part of a challenge for me. While I was  preparing my trip to the  black continent where I am now, writing this article.  My believe and   feeling  are that life and places always surprise you. Being clear that nothing is as we expect, much less as we want it to be. It pains me to say with regret that  my hoped to have  a  moment  of  relax about my appearance in Africa.  Is  not a reality.

Instead of women who care and love their natural hair and proudly wear it . I found an industry  of hair   extensions, more flourishing than in Europe where the social pressure to go unnoticed or be accepted is greater. The women in this part of Africa are ashamed of their natural hair, what lies behind pounds of human hair extensions or synthetic.

My own mother has undergone harassment and demolition for me to put in hair extensions. Saying that with my natural hair  I looked like  I had no money, or that I had neglected myself. But I have kept my word to wear my hair natural. The only thing I accepted was to wear  braids root. Which I do in the summer when I’m in Europe.

Foto del día 02-04-2013 a la(s) 19:19

My question is how is that in a continent where most women have curly hair, they  are  ashamed of it. It’s as if all the  Asian decided  to  permanent  their  hair curly , to  hide their straight hair. What it  will seem terrible for me .
For the record, I am not against people wearing  extensions. What  is critical  for me  is that, it has become an addiction and obligations  for  most of  black women. These women cover their hair abused by neglect with a beautiful wig with smooth appearance.

The only thing I can say is, no matter how much your hair  move with the  wind. At the end of the day the hair is not yours. The reality is presented each time you take the extensions of. Your hair is damaged lifeless ,your entries against increasingly pronounced because you have  no hair. But you’re still wearing your long extensions. Because you don’t  want to see the reality of who you are as a person and as a black woman.
In September ,last year I learned to love my hair and my person as ever. And I have to say that I feel stronger since I accept my natural hair as my own as an opportunity to discover who  really I  was . For me to accept my hair has been accepting my imperfections my fears, my insecurities. I converted those three words in a “yes” I am what I am. And  is the only way   I  improve myself, loving myself completely and without restrictions.
I don’t  say I’ll  never put it back extension or straighten my hair.  But it will  for  a change or  an alternative look. No  like  an obligation or  confirmation that I don’t accept myself.  I’ll  do simply because I love  change. But knowing  that underneath  my beautiful  natural hair , is   there.  And  I can look at  it any time. Because my hair is well protected, and  when  I get tired of the extensions and  I want another change  I can wear   my natural hair   without  worry  about   what  people think .

Yes, I have been disappointed inAfrica, always thought the quintessential African woman was a strong and determined woman. But if we can not fight something as simple as the stall of beauty that is thousands of miles from our homes and teach our daughters that they are beautiful as they are. That their hair is as beautiful to,  but different  from   Caucasian little  girl. Teach  them  that   the  only  thing  they need  to do   is take care  of  their  hair ,to make it look beautiful. If we can’t pass on something so close and our  as  good.

What message can we send the world. The concept of self begins in childhood and in your home. If your mother is the first to be ashamed of her appearance. How can you love what you are as a person?

This is a fight I have with my mother. Despite living a long time in Europe, she  has not yet realized that what counts are the facts not the word. To take action you  don’t  need  take a banner and sitting on downtown. An action can
be ,the fact that your daughter sees you take care of your natural hair and  love  your skin  color.

Obviously I can’t change my mother, nor do I pretend. I agree that it is from another era. That in his world appearance is paramount. But it is clear that the concept she has about appearance is not a healthy concept. It is a destructive concept. is a concept that has caused me many  personal insecurities  and social level. It is hard to accept  who toy are ,when your own mother repeats   constantly ,that everything you are, or think is  bad.  one  my mother  said  this  in aloud voice ” if you are not light , you are nothing”

I still  can believe  that a  woman  who have a  dark skin  daughter  can say  something so  destructive a  careless.
It’s hard to fight a woman has to wear wigs extensions and their way of life. A woman who does not leave the room without putting on her wig. A woman who subjected me to  psychological bullying for wearing  my natural hair. Obviously in  your eyes I’ll always be imperfect with my natural hair and my dark skin. Because, what you have learned and have etched in your  experiences and  time is: The beautiful thing is to have straight hair and light skin.
At one time her views have caused me pain, anger, and rage.
But now I just feel sorry for her. I would not imagine the kind of suffering that is subjected herself every time she looks in the mirror and see that what is reflected is what  all whole life   she hate.
Reality is a hammer hitting us mercilessly and is better than the sooner we accept. To cushion the effects of the disappointment that the encounter  with it  produce us.

8 comentarios en “The unexpected pressure on my natural hair in Africa. !Definitely the world is crazy¡

  1. What part of “Africa,” are you in? Wondering b/c I grew up there and wore my hair in braid styles for quite a long time. In fact when I straightened my hair, it was because I harrassed my parents into it at about fifteen (wanting to look more like Americans). There was no big pressure to wear extensions at that time, amongst friends or family, but among the young – we were particularly concerned with getting American things and appearing to know their ‘style,’ to stand out and seem sophisticated. I can only imagine where this direction has resulted in present day styles. But most African women around here wear braids, then again we are in America now (NY), where the focus is now, expressing your heritage. Concerning your mother, very sorry you went through that. It sounds like she was subjected to shaming which she in turn does.😦 Too bad because you are stunning. Sad, b/c she can’t see her own daughter.

    1. I’m in Equatorial Guinea, a small country that borders Cameroon. Thank you very much for the comment.
      I’m glad your did not suffer the pressure of being different.
      I like when people share their experiences with me. That way we can all learn from everyone.

      1. Lol. I know where Equatorial Guinea is – I grew up in Liberia.🙂 Yes, I’m really sorry you are going through that. We have so much work to do to correct the effects of cultural imperialism. And it’s all over the world really. As a teenager (going to age myself now) I had braids when I arrived in the US. Everyone thought it was so passe’ and ethnic – though they would find every type of way to say that trying not to be mean. It was the Mid-west, but still, these are black people. My African American family who I went to live with coaxed me to perm my hair and my Grandmother took before and After pictures. LOL.

        Just arrived from Africa and after I had been ‘Americanized.’ Sad huh? Then there were the things, people kept telling me – ‘You’re pretty for an African,’ and ‘You’re AFRICAN? I didn’t know Africans could be so light!’ And that’s if they believed me at all (my brothers and I mimic the American accent when we are around them because we did with our mother for years so she could understand us). Everyone thought I was American. Er…even now.

        Anyway to this day my grandmom tries to bribe me to perm lol. Now I just think it’s funny, as a teen I was offended but did it to keep peace and fit better into the culture. Well, I’m glad I read your post it just makes me know when I direct I really better have characters who wear their hair naturally. Then do what I can to distribute to African theaters God willing I get that far.

        Encourage other filmmakers in this direction….

        Anyway, I hope your trip got better luv.

  2. I am glad that you now embrace your hair! My mum never understood why I cut my waist length hair to a few inches… Years later guess who rid herself of chemical treated hair? Yes, good ole momma! There’s hope🙂 With much prayer, patience and Taking care of my natural self..others learn.
    Happy Hair Journey, you have supporters world wide! -USA checking in :-p

    1. Thank you very much for your words and your encouragement. Are lucky that I have women like you who love what they are as people. And they believe it is possible to be beautiful with your natural hair. I am happy with the response that my article is generating.
      Thanks again and also for your blog.

  3. I’m african and indeed, here in West Africa most of people consider that wearing natural hair as you do seems dirty (and it’s not a long time since I accepted myself that they cans seem to be quite neglected or we should say free but cared, clean, conditionned, etc.).
    It can make people imagine sometimes that you come directly from the land or the hood, that you don’t have education or even that you are crazy.
    Indeed, in most of west african countries you can see crazy people in the street who should rather be in psychiatric asylums but they are in errance in the streets and their hair are totaly natural most of time but careless and there is a confusion in many people minds.

    I also thing that this hair problem has to do with slavery, civilization, colonisation and integration problems.

    1. thank you very much for your comment and for providing more knowledge about natural hair erroneous belief. Yes many people think that natural hair means you’re a person left or you’re crazy. But why is the black woman who always give in and adapt to the world giving up their personal identity. Do not see why Asians can wear your hair straight as a board. And do not force them to curl their hair, as some European. And yet this evil that we want to wear our hair as we were born with.
      I think the acceptance and appreciation of our hair, body, skin has to come from us first as a race. When you respect yourself and what you are as an individual or as a people. Others also respect you.
      Thank you so much for your Thank you for supporting.

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