natural hair journey

My natural hair journey began in 2016. I’ve been on the natural hair bandwagon for a couple of months now. New to the club, I’m learning all types of things, like crochet, sisterlocks, fake dreads, I love it all. Before my transition, I had short hair for over twelve years. One of my friends told me to change up the hair, I’d had that same hairstyle for over a decade, but I didn’t mind. That hairstyle is timeless.

Most people wonder why I decided to go on this natural hair journey. People who know me never thought I’d do such  a thing. To be completely honest, neither did I. I was so obsessed with the “mainstream idea” of what is considered “pretty.” I never missed appointments to touch up my roots, I never missed appointments to relax my hair every three months. In Suriname, I never really bothered with race as much. Sure, we discriminate against one another, yeah, we’re human. But I experienced a whole other level of discrimination when I moved to China. It bothered me at first, but now, I’ve learned how to deal with it.

natural hair journey

My first time trying crochet braids. The partition is a bit too wide, but I was so in love with it!

Since my hair is chemically treated, it’s no wonder it broke as much as it did after I moved to China. Tap water is FILLED with chlorine. It isn’t drinkable. I kid you not! If you open the faucet while brushing your teeth, let the water run, the chlorine smell will hit you right in the face. It’s so strong! The school advised us to drink bottled water, but some nasty people fill the bottles with tap water. You just don’t know which brand to buy.

My natural hair journey in China has been super funny!

People thought it was my real hair. If I’d never met the person before, I’d tell them it was my real hair. They’d be so mesmerized by the texture, how it all looked to “reggae.” I do admit the hair was a bit much, but it was a different look for me. SO IN LOVE! When some of my classmates saw the amount of hair on my head, they said, “WHOA!” I laughed every single time!

I was a little self-conscious, of course. It was the first time I had SO MUCH (FAKE) HAIR on my head! But later, I came to love it! I realized how little non-Black people know about braids, LOL! Some of my teachers thought I woke up early in the morning to braid my hair, HAHAHA! At first I would explain to them that it was fake hair, but after a while, I got so tired. It’s like how I keep telling people that Suriname is in South America, that we speak Dutch (but I also speak Portuguese and Spanish, that’s why I can communicate with the Angolan students on campus), and that I am of African descent, but not Afican. Sigh of exhaustion.

I thought I would have to bring hair with me to China, but the Chinese market is pretty well-equipped to facilitate my natural hair journey.

I see the African women here on campus with braids and weave, so I knew I could find hair here. At first I thought I’d have to buy it in Shanghai, but Tao Bao  (淘宝) has EVERYTHING! Any and everything you can think of… Tao Bao has it! China has everything, people. I mean, OF COURSE! Everything is made in China.

I like the crochet braids, so I’ll be using that for a while. Need to look up some black hair websites to find more hairstyles, because I’m loving it. Can’t wait until my natural hair is long enough for me to let it all hang loose! For now, I think my natural hair is about 10 CM. Darn it! But, time is on my side. I tried the fake dreads, because they look AWESOME! But… one thing they don’t tell you, is that it hurts like a MoFo!

natural hair journey

I tried fake dreads… not what I had expected

I was disappointed the dreads were so thin. The girl who does my hair, didn’t have an idea of how much hair we would need, so it mas a big fail. I took them out the next day, because I couldn’t sleep. It was o freaking tight, that I only slept one hour.

Ladies, any ideas? Sisterlocks… not going to try that, but any ideas for fake dreads or crochet braids? I welcome them!

 

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Author: Tiara Ray

I truly believe it's never too late to follow one's dreams, I'm doing just that. Born and raised in the Caribbean, now living and studying in China. I love life and live it on my own terms. Cheers!

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