I struggled. Struggled tirelessly against the fine-tooth comb that just did not have enough gaps between its jaws to course smoothly through the thick strands of my kinky hair. The slaps of the same comb against the knuckles of my wrist as I attempted to hold unto the sides of my head and ease the pain of the strands being pulled from my scalp in a way that said “move yuh hand nuh girl”; and I struggle, struggled against the rising smoke of the blow dryer and the burn marks of the hot comb pressed against my ear.
I struggled until that day when the relaxer kit came out. There were little discussions, little choices. My hair was thick and we all knew this was the right decision, this would make my tresses smoother, silkier and overall more manageable. I felt relief. Ah but still I struggle!
Struggle against the boxes upon boxes of no lye relaxer that lied, and changed the natural consistency and colouring of my hair. I struggled against the breakage and the uneducated notion and thoughts that water was bad for my hair and I could only grease with products such as dax to shine up my new bone straight hair. I struggle against the need to have perfect hair, perfect shine, and perfect weave. And I struggled against the immaturity of my clothes and my shoes to match said hair. In the chaos of life I struggled to find just what made me – Me.
Struggle! Struggle! Struggle endlessly against the birth pains and the contractions of emergence, of being born and rebirthed. Ah, but remember after the caterpillar is cocooned, there is a struggle of identity but it emerges victoriously as a beautiful butterfly. Years of struggle, years of being fed up, and then it took no more than a day, a thought, a small 5 minutes, a BIG CHOP – a new me. A butterfly free to fly within the boundaries of the skies. The big chop, I should be free and still I struggled against the harsh voices that scream out unprofessional, unattractive, unmanageable, un-you. Ah, but struggle turned to love and soon enough I realised that although others struggled against the strong currents of the eccentric me, I no longer struggled within me.