Hair · Uncategorized

Letting Go…

Two weeks ago I posted a blog and video about my thoughts on black women and our love affair with fake hair. I had a few people tell me they agreed with a few of my thoughts. Some disagreed and still others had their own story to share. I asked a few of these women if they would be willing to guest blog some of their own stories. So for the next little while I will be sharing their stories. Here is the first story by Jem Jackson

Jem’s Story

My relationship with my hair has changed so much over the years. When I was a child it was strongly tied to insecurities surrounding my blackness. I hated my hair – short brittle, dry almost as much as I hated my nose.. and that was telling, trust me.

As a child and maybe even early teen, I longed for hair that blew in the wind..long black shiny hair. I’m not sure when this started but I felt like this for as long as I could remember. So, at age 12 I was determined to get that relaxer that would make all my hair dreams come true..but there was one obstacle . My mother did not agree for me to get a relaxer, so I did what any reasonable 12 year old would. I got a job, actually two – one babysitting my 3 cousins, and the other selling chocolate.

Soon enough, I was able to go the random hairdresser down the road to relax my hair..I was ecstatic! After the tedious process, my expectations were through the roof. I looked in the mirror and saw my strands flat on my head..not at all what I expected.
Fast forward a few years of relaxing, chemical burns, broken hair and scabs on my scalp- I decided to stop relaxing my hair and ‘big chopped’ in my final year of high school, way before I ever heard that term. My knowledge of how to care for my hair was so poor, that I went through a slew of random experimentation. Until I finally decided to grow my first set of locs.

My first set of locs brought me through an amazing journey. I learned to love my hair and the way I looked in my most natural state. This set of locs were with me for 10 years, until I decided to cut them due to periodic alopecia. I decided to grow locs again, as when I wore locs I felt like my most authentic self- I had this second set of locs for approximately 2 years until I experienced a horrible case of post-partum shedding causing more than a few locs to fall out. Without too much hesitance, I decided to cut my hair one final time, and now I rock it in either a picked out twa or a curly wash and go. It’s funny because people ask what happened to my ‘long’ hair and why I would cut it-something as a little Black girl I probably would have killed for, was so easy for me to let go..and I’m completely ok with that.
Jem Jackson

Nana: How were you able to learn to love your hair?

Jem: It was a long process. First I started wearing my hair naturally but I still loathed a lot of my appearance (mostly the very prominent features). Eventually, with the advice of a mentor I would look in the mirror for long periods of time focusing on what I liked instead of what I didn’t. Eventually I stopped focusing on what I didn’t like and now I love those features I use to hate. I feel like I re-programmed myself.

What a powerful way to take back her own beauty. I hope this story encourages you to look into your heart and examine negative mindsets you might have about your beauty and hair.

Jem is passionate about inspiring hope, faith, change and transformation in the lives of everyday people. She does so through her work as a Registered Social Worker and as the curator and host of the #imstillstanding documentary-series.

If you’re interested in hearing more about Jem Jackson and her series I’m Still Standing check out this link

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