Are you really enjoying your hair?

Are you really enjoying your hair?

A question came up in my Master Group which made me reflect on my role and responsibility in questioning and exploring whether my clients are enjoying their hair journey.

You see, it’s one thing to learn to care for your hair, learning to detangle, to wash, condition, style and everything in between. These can be taught with relative ease - so long as the coachee is coachable. But learning to enjoy one’s own hair… well, that can be a lot more complicated.

I’ve coached people who have achieved enviable hair yet never wore it out. I’ve had people highlight issues with their hair that I just can’t see - “Oh, I just want it to get thicker, oh it’s just too grey, oh my hair frizzes too quickly”. Every reason under the sun is given for not wearing their own hair in public. I’ve often said that some people will need the services of a therapist alongside my hair coaching, that’s how deep the issue is in our community.

In the beginning of my hair coaching journey, I was mistaken in thinking that it was my responsibility to make them love their hair. I realise now it’s not my responsibility. My responsibility is to share the skills, knowledge and technique for growing healthy and long hair. Falling in love with your hair is your own responsibility.

So, what stops many from falling madly in love with their hair? I’ve learnt that it can be complicated and I’m certainly now more sympathetic to some of the reasons, more so than when I first started coaching.

As black women, we still have to navigate beauty standards that do not hold up our hair as being ideal, equally beautiful, sexy, or glamorous.

Then there are issues around texturism, I’ve met many women who lust after a different texture to their hair. The unrealistic expectation that their hair would hold curl patterns not common amongst the coilier texture and the disappointment when their hair does not behave like the instagrammers who may be overly manipulating their hair into wash and goes etc or who just have a different texture - it’s really sad.

I’ve sat in numerous sessions where the bane of contention is that the hair is not soft, doesn’t curl, has no curl pattern and so on.

I’ve also heard people express unrealistic expectation about what they thought they would get. Of course, there are a few who become so obsessed with attaining length that they focus on the destination instead of enjoying the hair journey!

And then there are some who genuinely don’t enjoy handling their hair, years of delegating this to hairdressers or stylists has led to a dependency and disinterest in doing it for themselves. Some want to manage their hair but lack the competence in styling or want their styling to look as polished as the hair bloggers or influencers they follow.

And then, there are a cohort of people, no matter how loud they shout about loving natural hair, deep down they do not like the aesthetics of natural afro textured hair - because it does not fit the ideal. And I’ve met them. I’ve even come across natural hair coaches who betray in very subtle manners, their struggle with the aesthetics of natural hair.

For all the reasons above, I’ve decided that whilst I can’t make anyone love their hair, I can hold space for exploring with them options that may help them accept or enjoy their hair better. The options may be putting the hair in locs, texlaxing the hair, relaxing the hair or even cutting the hair.

I have come to realise that this healthy hair journey and the journey to acceptance and the celebration of black hair may just look different for different people. And if these choices help people to enjoy their own hair as it grows out of their own head then I’m here to support them.

I honestly just want to see more black hair joy! More of us wearing our own hair and enjoying it!

So, to all the women in my master group who recently started their sister locs and microlocs journey! I hope you love it! And I hope this is a new journey towards radical self-acceptance!


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