When I was 13, for some unknown reason I got the idea that I wanted to have cornrows, I don’t know why; i just did. I also had a mother that was open minded about these things in contrast to most African parents that generally frown upon it (tell me I’m lying). Also on a trip to London I saw my older cousin had cornrows and that pretty much sealed the deal.
Subsequently I started growing my first afro during the summer of 2002 around the time the commonwealth games had engulfed Manchester, however when school reopened I gained a habit of twisting the right side of my hair (just above the ear) when I was deep in thought and eventually my hair on that side thinned out so much it was visibly less than the rest of my afro. Instead of facing the truth I hoped “it would just work out”.
I figured it would be best to not show my mum what was going on with my hair and for a few weeks, I pulled it off. She never saw the right side of my face when in close proximity, and I’d walk by her right side at all times when in public.
Unfortunately the great disguise had a great flaw, the front passenger seat, in full day light on a mid afternoon there was no hiding the anomaly in my hair and as soon as my mum spotted it she pulled a u-turn and took me to my barbers.
On this setback I almost gave up on the idea of cornrows because the texture of my hair was so thick I didn’t think I was ready to go through it all again every morning, but almost a year on it was my last trip to the barbers that forced me into starting the pursuit again. I basically went to get a shave from my regular as you do, then after he’d finished the cut I realised I’d lost the £5 I had in my pocket. The guy said it was cool, I should simply repay him on my next visit, I was so freaking embarrassed I figured I’m gonna do the afro thing again and never went back.
That is why I started growing my hair.