Within the context of this blog, I’m referring to two particular definitions of the colloquialism “trippin’”. Firstly, acting up or making a scene, and secondly, frequently taking trips. If you’ve read “Entangled”, you’ll know that my natural hair is no stranger to the former; she lives for a bit of the dramatics, honey. And with regards to the latter, some of my wigs really need passports of their own because they stay catching flights.
Essentially, this blog post was conceptualized at the intersection of both meanings – where my hair has acted up or made a scene, in the lead up to me leaving the country or whilst I was already abroad.
Buckle up, this is gonna be a wild ride….
I have this awful habit of doing ALL of my holiday prep a couple of days before I travel, which includes: packing, hair, nails, changing currency, etc. (please pray for my deliverance). On this occasion, I was flying out to Nigeria for my Granddad’s 90th birthday party, so I was trying to show up and show out (and maybe catch my future husband in the process).
I take no pride in admitting this but, I cheated on my hairdresser (and this story is exactly what I deserved for doing so).
I decided to try out a fast-rising Instagram hairstylist that my friend recommended. Please note, I did my hair with this new babe 2 days before I was set to fly out.
Long story short, despite me flagging that her cornrows were too tight for my admittedly tender-ish scalp, she proceeded in laying the foundation of my sew-in, loosening the remaining cornrows ever so slightly (teenie weenie tings), with a bit of an attitude. Afterward, she sewed in the bundles, styled it, and then I left.
It wasn’t until I was on my way home that my head started BANGING. It felt like somebody was using my head as a talking drum. I tried not to think anything of it, at first. If you’ve ever done a sew-in or even braids, you’ll know that sometimes it be like that for a couple of hours, sometimes even overnight, when it’s fresh. I tried to go about the rest of my evening, I finished packing my suitcase and eventually called it a night…
So I get into bed, I’m excited to sleep… then… please explain to me why I couldn’t physically lay my head down on my pillow? The pain was out of this world. I vividly remember poking my baby finger through some of the gaps in the weave tracks and feeling my scalp beginning to swell. I raided my medicine box for something to relieve my somewhat self-inflicted suffering. From paracetamol to its distant relative Panadol, even Panadol extra – nothing was working. No word of a lie, I didn’t get a wink of sleep that night, so much so that I ended up watching the sunrise. Like, what in the Circle of Life was going on???
I remember eventually feeling so fed up (Lawd mi can’t tek it no more) that I just spontaneously left my house, at silly o’clock in the morning, to find a solution. I effectively camped outside my actual hairdresser’s salon waaaay before opening time (I was des-per-ate). She typically worked strictly by appointment, and since I didn’t have one, I figured that I needed to get there early, tell the truth, shame the devil and beg for an SOS apt. Thankfully, she was able to squeeze me in.
Sis redid the whole thing, working her magic from start to finish, allowing me to enjoy my flight to Lagos the next day in peace (and not pain) – can I get an Amen?!
Moral of the story: don’t cheat on your hairdressers.
The New York Harbour, more specifically the wind that it was generating, tried to publicly disgrace me. Despite my wig being heavily secured, it almost flew off whilst I was on the Staten Island Ferry. I don’t know who sent me, but I felt compelled to vogue by the banister nearest to the water, and it was whilst I was Tyra Banks smizing in my mini photoshoot, that my wig (her name was Jessica) tried to leave the chat. If you heard the way I screamed (it was pitch-perfect) and rapidly clutched onto my head when I felt movement, I’m sure you would’ve erupted into laughter alongside my sister too.
I praise the Lord for not allowing my village people (definition #5) to win on that blessed day in 2016. I’m grateful to be serving a God that is bigger than the elements, and that’s on period. Speaking of elements, Earth, Wind & Fire were clearly onto something back in the 70s, because this potentially tragic incident, ironically did happen in September.
All I know is that if Jessica, in all of her full and luscious curly wonder, had successfully jumped, I was going to have to go after her. With the amount of money I spent on sis (a custom-made unit), there was absolutely no way that we were going to depart from each other Titanic style.
Even though I had planned a rescue mission in my mind within seconds, the gag is, your girl can’t swim.
Ah, the story of another wayward custom unit. I was preparing for yet another trip to Nigeria (clearly there’s a correlation between my hair faux pas and the motherland) when a then-popular hair vendor sold me 3 bundles of curly hair and a differently textured closure. So when the unit was made, the top of my wig was serving Oceans 14 waves, whilst the bulk of my wig was tight ringlets.
Y’all already know, due to my lastminute.com trip antics, I couldn’t do anything about it before flying out. I was bamboozled, hoodwinked, led astray, run amuck, and flat out deceived.
I had to make the most out of a bad situation. I found a DIY YouTube video showing how I could replicate my desired curl pattern with straws, tiny rubber bands, and hair mousse. Just the sheer hassle of doing this ritual every couple of days, whilst I was in Nigeria (because the humidity would deflate the ringlets I previously made) infuriated me. A clear example of unnecessary wahala.
Now, let’s flip the script to more positive, but also somewhat random, hair experiences…
On a random day, 3 weeks after I returned from my sistercation to Albufeira, Portugal, I spontaneously decided to shave my head. My sister and I were driving back from the cinema (we caught a late-night showing of The Fate of the Furious) and I said something to the effect of “hey, let’s find a barbershop, my hair has got to go tonight”…and that’s exactly what happened.
We found a barbershop that was still open, in a very charismatic part of town, and just like that, my hair and I parted ways at approximately 11:30 PM that night. Chile, maybe it was something in the Portuguese water (still lingering in my system) that influenced my decision, either way, I have absolutely no regrets.
Whilst I was briefly visiting Ibadan, I felt the itch to switch up my hair. I had been wearing a mid-length straight wig but the scorching Naija heat was making the maintenance process a nightmare. As I was exploring, I stumbled across a quaint salon. I walked in, had a chit chat with the owner and asked if she could complete rather long, medium-sized braids in just 2 hours *cue Mission Impossible theme song*
To my surprise, she accepted the challenge without hesitation. I soon found out why… she had a small army of 8 assistants, and together they completed my hair in 1 hr 47 mins. It was incredible to see how they operated like a well-oiled machine, manoeuvring from all angles. The experience of having that many people do my hair at once was so alien to me. At times, I was completely baffled as to which direction I should lean my head (only real Gs know the braiding struggle). Nevertheless, they did the damn ting. 10/10, would definitely recommend.
Those of you who follow me on Instagram will know that I was a fully-fledged Mamacita in 2018. However, trying to get my hair done whilst I was living in Seville, Spain, was an extreme sport. Unfortunately, there were barely any Afro salons near where I lived, and the two that I found, were barely in business. I would often walk by their shops (at different times), to see if anyone was there – their shutters would always be down.
Siesta is very much a thing in Spain (2/3 hours of complete commercial inactivity, mid-afternoon, on a daily basis), but were they really gonna sleep on securing the bag, ALL day?! It was particularly challenging because neither salon had working websites, so I would always have to go and physically check.
On the fluke day that I caught a hairstylist in the shop, please believe I got Auntie’s number and booked an appointment, expeditiously.
When I went in to do my hair, she was so lovely. We had a proper chinwag about life and time just flew by. She opened up about her family, the difficulties of being an African immigrant in Spain (particularly in the south) and schooled me on messy Spanish politics. Not only did she slay the unit, but I really enjoyed my time in her chair.
So there it is, I’ve just embarrassed myself on Beyonce’s internet for your reading pleasure – you’re welcome!
However, I’m now left wondering, is my life just one long episode of Punk’d? Or have you had random hair drama before or during a trip, too?