The process of relaxing damages the nature of your hair, therefore your hair needs more care than usual. As a new mum I thought, ‘Where would I find the time now?’ I couldn’t spend as much time taking care of myself, and that included taking care of my hair. This led to my hair situation getting progressively worse over time, and I eventually started to lose my hair. Not a huge amount, but you could see that I had lost volume. After giving birth to a child, your hair usually falls out because of the drop in your hormone levels. Then, if you add in the fact that my hair was already damaged by a chemical product I used every two months to look prettier, the situation automatically gets much worse.
I realized it was time for a haircut. I was scared of the idea. I thought to myself, ‘How would I look with shorter hair? I’ve always had long hair.’ I was so scared that it wouldn’t suit me and was afraid of even seeing myself in a mirror. It took me almost three years after the birth of my first child to gather my courage and make the decision. I was not disappointed at all; this was the best decision I have ever made to feel rejuvenated after years of not being myself.
This simple choice to care for a part of myself again started my process of rejuvenation and accepting who I was. It felt so good to connect with my true self again. On top of that, I received a multitude of compliments, which definitely eased the process of acceptance.
I decided to go see an Afro hairdresser in London to get advice on how to care for my natural hair. I then made the commitment to regularly go to the hairdresser at least once a month. I decided that this would be my new ‘me time.’ I needed this and had finally realized that I deserved it.
During the consultation, I asked the hairdresser if she could apply a softener so that I would be able to manage my hair more easily. She straight away told me that a softener was the same thing as a relaxer, composed of chemical product to change your hair’s nature.
You see, at that time I couldn’t understand that the pattern of my old ways was fighting me and trying to keep me trapped in the old habits that I felt safe in. It felt good cutting my hair and keeping it natural, but something was telling me not to go down that road and to stick to what I knew.
This is often the problem we face when starting to change for the better. No matter how much we logically know that the change will be good, we still convince ourselves that our old habits are better as they are. This is what we’re comfortable in, so why leave it? When you try to change, you hit the terror barrier (exactly what happened to me when I decided to stop relaxing my hair), and you step back because you are scared. But please remember this when hitting a terror barrier:
The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.
– Joseph Campbell
Leave those old habits behind to grow and achieve more than you ever could have in that comfortable place.
When I was making this change, I was really thinking, ‘Should I go back to my relaxed hair? What about the commitment I’ve made to myself to be who I truly am?’ It took me so long to finally tell my hairdresser, ‘Okay, if I shouldn’t use chemicals to maintain my hair then what do you suggest I use?’ She offered me a treatment and showed me how to take care of my hair daily. The result was just outstanding! For the first time, I could say that I loved my natural hair. I was able to override my paradigm only because I fell in love with the idea of being my true self.
What I really want to highlight here is that those decisions that are against what you’re programmed to do or be are difficult to make. Your paradigm won’t let you easily change and grow into a next stage of life that will be more beneficial for you. However, just like I overcame my fear and doubts about falling into my true self again, you can make the change to better yourself. There’s a positive endnote to the story. A few weeks later, my mum followed and cut all her relaxed hair, followed a month later by one of my cousins and about a year later by another one. When you awaken to your authentic self, you inspire people to follow in your steps.
Tessia Brival quickly learnt that parenting is the most amazing experience and that it can be unbearably tough without the right support. Born in Paris and of Togolese and Caribbean heritage, Tessia knew that raising children “takes a village” and discovered that her life was destined to help other families. She created ‘Les Petits Bellots,’ a bilingual crèche similar to traditional UK childcare, making it more accessible for parents. A single mother of two young kids, Tessia aims to support other mothers and share her philosophy to enrich their lives and the lives of their children. https://tessiabrival.com/
Founder & CEO Les Petits Bellots Limited
Author of Rejuvenated Mums Make Happy Kids