In 2006, soul and R&B singer India Arie, released I Am Not My Hair. The social climate at the time held a lot of misconception about a Black woman’s skin, hair, and her identity. She addressed this issue when she spoke of a separation of one’s identity from their hair and skin tone. She sings, “I am not my hair. I am not this skin. I am the soul that lives within.” Existing as a spiritual African American woman, however, has taught me the exact opposite. I am the sum of the complexities of my hair and skin that when well managed and cared for, flourishes. It requires water for moisture, oil for sealing in moisture for length retention, and quiet as kept, daily words of affirmation for intentional hair growth. Everything I am sharing here are things I wish I knew when I began my natural hair journey.
In 2009, I began my journey down the natural hair rabbit hole. There was a limited supply of information on the subject because back then, it wasn’t as accepted as it is today. All I knew was that I was tired of picking scabs from my sensitive scalp. My mom suggested I transition my hair with protective styling until it reached a length I was comfortable with, but I was very impatient with my hair and thus decided to have a Wal-mart stylist chop off my relaxed ends. In short, I hated the results, the way my curly hair looked like a mushroom, and how uncomfortable I felt. I didn’t know what to do and a few weeks later, I had my mom relax my hair. There weren’t many stylists advertising a specialty for natural hair, or platforms like Pinterest or Youtube to gather ideas for styles. There were no google searches catering to the natural hair community, which highlight the different textures of hair and levels of hair porosity. It was this lack of information and self-esteem, that caused me to go through three cycles of “Chop, Grow, Relax, and Repeat”. It was a truly draining process, but looking toward college, I was determined to grow in my spirituality and my knowledge about growing my naturally curly hair.
Thankfully, six years ago, I came across the video Praying to God For Long Hair by Dephne Madyara. Finding her page was a game changer. Prior to her video, I had never heard the concept of praying or speaking over my hair. I knew the Word spoke of a woman’s hair being her crowning glory, but I didn’t know I could speak a word, and see growth. It was soon after watching that video, that I stood in the bathroom mirror of my mother’s old apartment, and made a conscious decision to give my hair to God. That sounds kinda deep because for me, it was. I told God to show me what He was doing in my life through my hair and He did just that. I would notice subtle changes that would communicate what was taking place in my spiritual life. I noticed how my hair grew when I followed my intuition, but also when I was impatient and rushed into decisions. The last time I ignored my intuition concerning my hair, shortly after, I regretted it. I sitting in my grandmother’s guest room when I felt a heaviness come over me and immediately, I knew it was about my hair. I thought I could wash the feeling away and the moment reminded me of Solange’s Cranes in the Sky. When I felt the same heaviness the next day, I knew I needed to cut it. For those of you who have been consistently following my hair journey, I hope this gives you a deeper understanding of why I cut my locs.
Hair, unbeknownst to me at the time, holds memory. It also carries frequencies/energy that hair can retain when it’s loc’d. Thus, transforming my hair into an antenna for higher frequencies, that when tampered with, causes issues. I had that moment of clarity while cruising in the car the other day, when the thought hit me that every time I let a stranger do my hair, I had to cut it because their frequency didn’t match mine and their energy was off. For my 27th birthday, I decided to have a loctician style my hair. I had done some research, but didn’t follow my gut that told me “not her”. The loctician was in a mood the day she did my hair and it transferred to my hair. My loves, don’t ever let someone you don’t know and trust intuitively work with your hair. My impatience and ignorance was my downfall. Having someone in such an intimate space should be held with high regard and and shouldn’t be invaded by any and everybody who wants to get a feel. The best way to combat the politest of requests to touch your hair, is to give a firm, yet respectful “No”. If you’re patient enough to explain why, bless your heart! lol but if you’re not, a “Sorry not sorry” will suffice because at the end of the day, it’s your hair.
To this day, I am actively working to do the due diligence for my hairs optimal health. I no longer use the aforementioned prayer I came across six years ago, but I find using mantras to speak over myself to be as effective. If you want to do more research, I came across an article by Chris Jeffrey-Hall that you may find helpful.
4 Word Mantras (affirmations)
- I have healthy hair
- Shiny, long, silky hair
- My hair is growing
- My hair is long (curly, healthy, use your own adjective here)
- I love my hair
- I have abundant hair
- Love my hair regrowth
I want you to know that properly caring for your hair isn’t something you have to do alone. There is a community of men and women out here pulling our knowledge together to share freely because knowledge is power. Until next time, I love you all!