I did not have relaxed hair before the age of 11 or 12, so I do remember how my hair was back then. I remember that it was curly and coily and that I loved it, even though I rarely saw it like that. Right after my mother washed my hair, I once asked her if I could wear my hair freshly washed, in its natural state. She just laughed and pulled out the hair dryer and hot comb.
So, a few years pass… I got a relaxer and was so happy. I could swing my hair, it was long, and everyone else loved it. After a few years, it fluctuated between shoulder length and longer with very thin and damaged ends. Knowing what I know now, I know that I did a lot of things that were wrong for relaxed hair. However, relaxing my hair became more and more questionable to me as I got older.
It started out with just a niggling thought here and there. Then it was on my mind every time I relaxed. I went a particularly long time without a relaxer when I was pregnant with my son, but ended up relaxing shortly after he was born. It wasn’t until a bit after his first birthday when my best friend announced that she was “going natural” that I made my decision.
I was going natural too, darnnit.
But, unlike my friend, I couldn’t bear to part from my “precious” locks. I mean, people identified me by my hair. I was the girl with “all that hair”. I would just grow it out to about shoulder length and then I’d cut it, I told myself. I was also self conscious about being overweight with short hair.
Well, the battle of the two textures, coupled with a lack of haircare knowledge, led to me doing the big chop after about seven months of transitioning. I was excited and nervous at the same time. I went into shock when I cut it off only to discover my natural hair was nothing like I’d envisioned. I’d expected silky soft curls that moved and bounced. It was curly, but it was not the silky smooth hair I’d imagined. As I combed through my hair that first time, I thought I’d made a huge mistake.
I immediately flat ironed it and covered it up with a scarf for about a week. I read and read all I could. I posted pictures of my hair on various forums asking for help. If you’d like to know what forums helped me, please check out my blogroll.
I learned so much about my hair and learned not to expect it to be something that it would never be. However, I did come to love my hair for what it is. I am learning to style it and pamper it. It was a long road, and I still have a long way to go, but it’s been worth it.
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