Life lately: The blues

11:44 Naija girl next door 21 Comments


 This is a difficult post to compose. I wanted to share a 'life lately' post and started writing but it became a tedious blow by blow account of NYSC woes. I closed the tab and wondered if I should even put up a post on this. When have you shared too much? I'm concerned about that too.
     I can't remember when last I felt this defeated. I'm a Nigerian who schooled and continue to live in Nigeria so you know I've had my fair share of Naija problems. Why is this one getting to me so much? This has to do with my NYSC posting. Now Your Suffering Commences. I used to laugh at this reverse backronym for National Youth Service Corps but it's not funny. It's true. Forget camp, it's three weeks (and I was granted exeat on health grounds). For the rest of the year I was posted to Eti-osa LGA, to a division of the Nigerian Army in Victoria Island. Still close to home. Good news. 
     The long and short of the wahala is that they chose to ignore my address, my LG, my health as evidenced by a medical report, all their nearby hospitals- and send me to their hospital in Apapa. I understand. There's a need. But there are other Doctors, and this one has a good reason. Plus, I begged and begged as I have never begged anyone before. Perhaps soldier=inhumane?
   If you have no "big man" in the army to speak for you, go and die. We need a doctor in Apapa.

       I was miffed but at first I thought okay I'll deal. Everyone who's heard is like, Nooo you can't go there. Do you have any idea how it is? Even people that don't know me but hear from my sis. I don't know what it's like. I've never been to Apapa. I've just heard on the radio about the trucks and trailers that bring traffic to total standstill. So I resisted and kept pleading. Now I'm being punished by being asked to come daily and wait all day, only to be told Come Tomorrow. Yesterday I was badly yelled at.

     I'm letting it get to me so much. I'm angry at myself for that. Y'all know I like food. I say it a lot. Unfortunately, I lose appetite once my mood changes. I get upset, no will to eat. Because of this daily punishment, I'm not eating well, ulcer's acting up and I'm ignoring the pain. I'm losing even more weight and feeling weak and sleeping too much and not going out (shocking) even with lots of events to go for. Only the daily drudgery in khaki.
It's not the worst thing in the world. Heck it's not even the worst thing that ever happened to me. I know this. So why has it affected me so much? I'm having a serious case of the blues. I'm even slightly irritated at optimism directed towards this. Lol.
This is not how I usually react to things. What is up??
   Maybe it's because I feel I'm too old for this. I'm not fresh out of school, that was two years ago. I've written professional exams and then worked for a year. I've been financially independent for too long and now because I haven't earned in months and am still being held up, I might have to ask my parents for support which I would HATE to do. They're very loving and Dad told me "If you need anything, please call."
 They know though, right from childhood, of all my siblings I'm the one who would save up my allowance bit by bit to buy what I want,  instead of "gimme money".
    This is adulthood. If you've been independent before, you know how bad it feels to need help again. My mum says that's irrational. Lol. Bless.

       Anyway the sooner they agree to issue this letter and I can get to Apapa, the sooner I can see it's not so bad (hopefully) and snap out of the anxiety.
      On the flip side, I have amazing people in my life that have been doing a lot to make me feel better. I love you guys and you know I'd do the same for you. Kiss kiss. Maybe I can afford to be such a crushed flower right now because I have them?
It's not all bad :) Good things have happened too.
     I got to be in the pilot epolisode of a cooking show. It's so far out of my comfort zone to be in front of a video cam. I almost chickened out but I'm glad I didn't. The experience was amazing.  I'll let you all know when and where it'll air. I don't know yet.
   Also, my brothers came to visit for a bit and it was awesome to have all four of us together in one place. It was fun, minus having to cook all the time and clean a lot and manage noise (when I'm not making it myself), but it distracted me from myself for a while. They left yesterday and I miss em.

      That's my life lately. Hope you're having a better time. 





The Wash Day that tackled hair loss

07:37 Naija girl next door 17 Comments

Hey hey, how's it all going?
   About two wash days ago I had a wash day worth reporting. I had been dealing with a hair problem and in one wash day it was magically sent away.
 If you wonder what is meant by "listen to your hair", this washday is a case in point.

    I had been losing hair for weeks. I don't even comb my hair, but for everytime I undid a twist; fluffed out a puff; finger combed my hair, I would lose very significant tufts of hair. My hair was feeling dry so I upped my moisturise & seal game, but carried on having to sweep the floor everytime I touched my hair. At that rate I was sure I would stop retaining length if I didn't fix it.

First thing, is it breakage or shedding?         Shed hairs have that little white bulb at one end and tend to be longer since they're dropping right from the scalp.
    I wasn't about to start checking all the individual strands, but from the few I did check, I was dealing with both breakage and shedding.
That's listening to your hair. Next, what to do about it.

Shedding: Caffeine.
I hadn't done a coffee rinse in so long.      
    There's another way I've used coffee once before that I really liked: a scalp prepoo.
I mixed instant coffee with a little water to make a strong brew, then I applied it directly to my scalp in sections.
    Black tea rinses also have caffeine and serve the same purpose but they didn't agree with my hair. [Read here and here]

    To prepoo my hair I used honey, extra virgin olive oil and palm kernel oil. This dark coloured prepoo mix moisturises and softens my hair.
I covered with a plastic cap and let it stay in overnight.

Breakage: Protein
   When my hair was relaxed it was easy to tell when it needed protein because it would be limp or weak or mushy. I'm still relearning my natutal hair so with time I'll be able to notice the signs.
This time the only pointer was breakage not responding to moisture.
    I used a Homemade masque on top of my prepoo.

  • 2 Bananas, blended and sieved.
  • 1 tsp Castor oil
  • 1 tbsp of my cocoa butter creme
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 egg for protein

I had stuff to do at home so I didn't rinse out until after about three hours. The plan was to cowash for maximum moisture, but since I had so much food in my hair, I took my shampoo into the shower just in case.
  I rinsed thoroughly, then cowashed with Shea Moisture Superfruit conditioner. 
      Everything was on point. No tangles; I was running through freely. No need for shampoo; the conditioner got out everything. Hair felt strong cos of the protein, but very hydrated too, and best of all, no hair was falling off my head. 
   The breakage and shedding were reduced to the bare minimum and have remained that way since that wash day two weeks ago. 
I used ny cocoa butter creme to seal my damp, soft hair.
    Threaded to stretch my kinks.

I've noticed that since my big chop, my hair has been on a mad growth spurt. I'm six months post big chop and there's more remarkable growth than the 19 months of my transition. 
   I'll try and scrunch up comparison photos to share. 
Who else is enjoying the harmattan and how it doesn't mess with your styles like humidity does??
I basically let my stretched hair hang out for days with little reversion.
After takedown

After three days

Bun till the following wash day
I was going to put in a protective style because of the dry weather, but I'm enjoying styling too much.
What are you doing with your hair lately? 

    The wash day Experience is here.


2 years post relaxer part II: Relaxed vs Natural

08:42 Naija girl next door 11 Comments

(Part 1 of this post is here)

     NITC 10 was when I knew I had to do this post, but it wasn't time yet as I was still transitioning. I gave a talk, and during the Q&A session a lady asked a question "I'm considering texlaxing my hair, do you think that would make my hair more manageable?"
Up until then I had been answering questions very honestly, being helpful by sharing my experience. Until that question. I gave her some answer based on stuff I'd heard a lot in the natural community. I said, "well, you know a lot of naturals do not consider natural hair difficult to manage. I think it depends on what you're trying to make the hair do..."
And many naturals present concurred "yeahhhh".
I wasn't completely honest. I was giving the "correct" answer, not saying my truth. My short answer would have been "Yes. You'll probably find texlaxed hair easier to manage." Notice I said short answer.

The long answer?
   Let's start from the Relaxed vs Natural debate. It splits the hair community into two major camps: 1]. Live and let live or as I like to say, Kink and let perm (it took a while to come up with this okay?)
2].  The "If you're not natural you are wrong" camp. They have been dubbed "Natural Nazis".

   I'm in the first camp. For me, it's just hair and you can do whatever you like with your own hair. Nevertheless, I understand where those in the second camp are coming from. If you hear why some people went natural and what it means to them ehn. Deep.
      For a lot of women it's much more than just hair; it's a journey of self discovery.  They've come from feeling less attractive or unworthy because they held themselves to prevalent standards of beauty that makes no room for kinky hair; to self acceptance, self love, confidence and awareness of the great beauty they possess.
It's meant so much to them that they want to preach it to everyone; and relaxed hair looks like self hate to them.

    That's their reality. It's beautiful and I respect it but it's not mine.
     It never went deeper than just hair for me.  I grew up having my mum adore my thick, dark kinky hair. I was brought up in Kano around beautiful Northern girls with all lengths and textures of natural hair: short to very long, 3a to 4c. Natural hair was the norm, there were relaxed girls too, just fewer. Why I relaxed in the first place is included in part I of this post.
     I don't feel any different as a person compared to when my hair was relaxed. Hair just doesn't run that deep for me. I like hair. I like long hair even more.
So! My comparison of natural and relaxed hair is based solely on my experiences with both. Finish.
     Back to the question about manageability. I found my freshly relaxed hair most manageable. Hair that straight just doesn't need detangling.
   I could create a parting and run my whole hand from root clear to tip in one swift motion with no catch, no break. Try it with my kinky hair- something will break: my hair or your hand.
    I could sleep with my hair loose (under a satin scarf, let's not get crazy now) and after the aforementioned quick motion, be out the door: no real bed head. My kinky hair will be flat and scrunched up where I lay, poofy where I didn't. Gotta twist before bed.
     I could curl my relaxed hair with just two french braids for a braidout, but I need to make smaller sections for my kinky hair if I want curls.
    I could curl my freshly relaxed hair and then decide to run my hands through carelessly, to loosen up the curls. Do it with my kinky hair and you will wonder who whisked my curls into cotton candy.
   Plain water sealed with drops of oil was enough to keep my freshly relaxed hair moisturised. My kinky hair drinks water, something creamy, butter/oil. Aaand repeat.
   How about when hair is dry but I still don't moisturise it because I'm wearing it stretched and I'm not ready for it to shrink!

    All said. Will I go back to relaxers? Neverrrr. It's all about what you weigh as more important.
   The above pluses last for all of three weeks, and then the new growth comes in.
    Are those few weeks worth months of the two-texture craziness of a relaxer stretch? Not for me.
   Are chemical burns a suitable price to pay for getting rid of shrinkage? NO. Especially when for a lot of styles I can use shrinkage to my advantage. Plus, I love the peace of being free of potentially harmful chemicals.
    Will I trade a big, bold, eye-catching, interesting afro for straight, universally acceptable hair? No more.

     I'll take that extra time to moisturise my hair, to twist at night before bed, to thread when I want to see some length. And if I really want very defined curls, I'll take that time to make those sections and lovingly curl that hair because my natural hair is worth that little bit o' extra ko ba haka ba?
    For me it's a choice between three weeks of more manageable hair while treating chemical burns, out of six months of battling two textures, only to repeat the cycle... and a lifetime of hair that takes a bit of extra time and effort, but the rewards are a happy scalp and big kinky look-at-me hair that even gets easier and easier to manage as you go along and keep learning.     For me it's a no-brainer. For me. That's my own experience.  

    What I'm saying is Do You. No one wears your hair but you, so no one has the right to judge you for how you've chosen to wear your hair. This applies even in the natural community. Some people still try to tell you how to be natural- if you colour, add extensions, wear a weave etc you're not natural enough. If you do a braidout, twistout, rod set- you're trying to change your natural texture to what it's not. If you use a ruler/tape to check your length, you're doing the most.
Gerrarahia with those rules.

  I won't ever let what's "correct" stop me from giving anyone my honest opinion again. I pledge to say my truth and nothing but.

See you in the comments.
All my love,

P.s NITC 13 IS TOMORROW. See the poster below for details.