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From braids to afro: How I survived my TWA


Debra Archaic HumanI am so envious of people who have enjoyed their natural hair journey from the beginning. I don’t know about you but I really struggled with the TWA stage. In fact, struggled is putting it mildly, I just hated it. I tried dressing my hair up with bows, pins and twist outs; face beat till I was unrecognisable but at the end of it all, I felt like I looked like a little boy. Yes, a little one, not even a grown boy. One of the hardest things to convey to fellow naturalistas was that I didn’t feel pretty because how could that be possible? It’s my face and my God-given hair. How could I not look at myself and feel pretty?

This is a personal journey for me, and it became more than just about hair. I learned a lot about my personal insecurities and how much my appearance affected my mood, confidence, and desire to leave the house. It dawned on me that I had an issue when I was sleeping in a wig at night because I didn’t want my boyfriend to see my short hair…extreme right? Well, it happened!

So protective styles have been my go-to for the last 2 years. Yes, my hair has seen very little daylight in the past 2 years and that’s what I needed to do to get through the TWA phase. Wigs, weaves, braids, head wraps, crochet braids all of those have seen me through the dark days until now. Finally! My hair is not long (shrinkage nightmares) and I’m sure some may say it’s still a TWA of sorts but at least I can play around with different styles that I feel suit the shape of my face and make me feel feminine.

The best part of going through all of this is, I now know what works for me! I used to wonder how I would look with a brush cut and now I know – Never Again! And although it took ages, I am now totally in awe of my hair and how versatile it is. And when it’s not behaving I just do some protective styles until I regain strength to tackle it again. I still have a long way to go before it's Tracee Ellis Ross' length…but from here on out, I'm going to enjoy every step of the journey.

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  • Debra Rioga
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