It’s been 5 years since I did my first big chop – in the sense of “going natural”; I had short cuts throughout high school in Ghana – I’m only just really understanding my roots, what it needs, what is a no-no, the works. The first time, I didn’t really take care of my hair (I was preoccupied with school), so I decided to go for a second big-chop in 2013 (confession: I’d never understood the natural vloggers who did a second big chop; talk about showing off – look where that got me :P). This time around, it’s been quite an enjoyable experience. More importantly, I got some pretty good insights on the process which could be applied to life. Click my ‘fro (photo) to watch the video or just go straight below for the (more) important stuff.
Surrender, trust the process. If I had decided gung-ho, no I got my hair to this point and I want to keep it that way, all of that – I would have been nurturing dead ends. I would have been nurturing hair that was dead. But by taking a step back and kind of acknowledging that this is not working out the way I’m hoping it to be, or the way that it should be working out, I basically gave myself space to do it over again.
“Surrender. If only you’d let go, you might see that it will grow back quicker, stronger, and more glorious than you ever imagined it to be.”
We live in a culture, times where people don’t want to start over. You think you have to get it right the first time. But it’s okay to say “I don’t know” or “this didn’t turn out the way I thought it would” and to take a step back. I would even say it’s healthy, because there are ebbs and flows in everything in life, if you look at the waves, if you look at the seasons – I don’t want to sound biblical, but there’s a time for everything.
“To live in a culture where we think we always have to be go, go, go is the direct opposite of our makeup as human beings.”
Now I have a better understanding of my hair and what it needs. My hair needs water; it’s a curious thing because it needs water (to thrive) and then it shrinks if I put water in it. I can have it short and then if I braid it I can have it longer. It’s interesting, it offers me diversity, but it took four years to learn about my hair and now that I know about it, I’m learning more and can treat it better. So whatever you’re doing, if you keep coming up against a wall – even though right now the thing is ‘persevere without giving up’ – know that there’s a difference between giving up and letting go. Sometimes you have to be wise to know when to let go, or when to wait, or when to just let the process, let God, let things run their course.
Jemila Abdulai is the creative director, editor and founder of the award-winning website Circumspecte.com. A media and international development professional and economist by training, she combines her business, communications and project management expertise with her strong passion for Africa. Besides writing and reading, she enjoys travel, global cuisine, movies, and good design.