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Love me… Love My Hair: A Journey of Emancipation from the (Hair) Ties That Bind…

Picture Illustrated Above: Google Images

We don't go "Natural", we return. "Natural" is where it began. ~Anon~

My name is Jacqueline A. Hinds, a mother, wife, author, businesswoman and a Black Queen who owns her authority and speaks her truth to power - supporting others along the way. Although my journey has not been an easy one along my career pathway, it has been a similar journey for my hair! Don’t get me wrong… I’m not complaining because, I have learned to love myself and my hair along this journey. I am thankful and grateful for the opportunities I have been given and, the support I have received along the way. I am proud to be the woman I am today, because I had my mother as my champion, friend, and guide. She taught me how to care for my hair and how to love myself in the process. This is my crowing glory and my legacy, and I’ve embraced it to the fullest because it is who I am.

My Hair Journey - The 3 Phases:

Phase 1: My hair had always been natural, having the occasional press n curl for special events such as weddings, which to be fair, happened nearly every week ‘back in the day’ in the hometown I grew up in. Now ladies, I’m not sure if you can recollect this but, I can distinctively remember when the mantle was passed to me, from my mother, to do my own hair at the ripe old age of 12 years. Up until that point, my hair was always neat and tidy, oiled, plaited and set for school, church, or a special occasion/event.

Phase 2: Having taken full control of my hair, I was able to do some ‘funky’ hairstyles (or so I thought), I cringe when I look at some of the photos of me and often think to myself, what did you see when you looked in the mirror – because with the eyes I have now, those hairstyles were screaming for guidance, sustenance and release!! I laugh now but, at the time I felt I was in charge and my hair was my property so, I could do with it what I wanted or so I thought.

I remember everyone at school started rocking curly perms and, I too wanted to have my hair done so I could follow the trend. My mother was not happy at all but, since she had handed over the authority to me and my hair, she relented. A family friend came round our house, who claimed they could do the home perm for me and my hair would look like all the other girls’ hair I had seen at school. Long story short, my hair was a disaster and started breaking off badly. Instead of sympathy, my mother surmised and said that my hair ‘favoured a baby bird when its feathers start to grow’! I was upset because I knew it meant my hair was looking patchy and uneven. Things did get better and my hair grew, affording me a lovely afro, which I call my Blaxploitation look in homage to all the black queens on screen, in music and in my hometown rocking their afros.

I quickly left that look behind and opted to get my hair relaxed (straightened) as, this would be easier to maintain; the curly perm was kind of messy, especially when the products one put in to get the curly effect, dripped, stained and ultimately ruined some of my clothing.

Funny thing is, straightening my hair was a different kind of challenge and stress for me. Firstly, once you decided to get your hair permed, you had to get your roots ‘touched up’ every six to eight weeks otherwise, your natural hair would start coming through at the roots and, if not maintained properly, your hair could start breaking. Whilst I loved the versatility of having my straightened hair, I longed for the freedom and versatility of my natural hair. I was finally emancipated and decided to cut my hair after the horrific unfurling of the 911 disaster. I got made redundant and was out of work so, I decided that I was going to cut my hair and start from scratch. When I say my hair was short, it was really short, say about 1.5 inches all over. I decided I was going to have comb twists to start with and, as my hair grew, I would have two-strand twists. I kept that look for eight years and decided to put my hair in Sista Locs.

Phase 3: This is my current hair journey. I have had Sista Locs for 11 years now and my hair has seen freedom like it has never seen before. It did take a while to get used to it as the shrinkage when it was first done, made it impossible to rock decent styles so, I invested in quite a few fancy slides and clips to keep my hair looking neat and tidy. Over the years I have grown to love and really respect my hair because it is part of me. Your hair is truly your crowning glory and I have embraced it and loved it immensely.

Covid-19 and Lockdown

What can I say… Covid-19 sent a lot of things into a tailspin, my hair regimen being one of the challenges I faced, I could no longer go to get my hair retightened or pay for it as, all my client work was pushed back without a hint of movement for the foreseeable future. All I can say is, thank God for my daughter. She has been my saving grace by picking up the challenge of looking after my hair during the pandemic and lockdown. If she had not come to my rescue, I am sure my hair would have ended up breaking off and becoming uneven and patchy because I could not maintain it myself. I have even had a big trim and love the new look. Yes, there have been challenges but, I have managed to surf the Covid-19 waves so far.

“To all the black women out there young and mature… You are beautiful and unique – there is no one out there like you, for you are truly fearfully and wonderfully made.

So, give yourself permission, to Love yourself and your hair first before anything else. No-one else can rock your hair like you.” ~Jacqueline A. Hinds~

Jacqueline A. Hinds is a certified Emotional Intelligence Coach, Leadership & Bullying and Harassment Consultant - Author of Journey to Empowerment: Tackling the Bullies Within



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