My hair journey has been very eye opening and awakening for me. I always wondered but never really knew that it was possible for me to maintain and have long natural kinky hair, I especially didn’t know it could look good or be considered beautiful. Hopefully my journey so far can be a source of encouragement to those who need it or just a good read. I’m sure most black girls can relate in some way to my story. So here goes….
Growing up as a child I always had a head full of hair. I didn’t really pay any attention or know anything about what was considered good or bad hair. I just thought it was hair, something that basically grew out of your head that people liked to style to look cute. My mom usually would put my hair in braid extensions and on special occasions I would get my hair hot combed straight. But getting my hair done was always war. There were tears, there was running (me running away from the hair dresser), there was pulling and tugging, fussing, breaking (breaking of combs and I even broke a brush once), more tears and then their was peace, well sort of. My head would usually be left throbbing from the extensions being tight, or from getting burnt by the hot comb, or just from the war that went down to get my hair to cooperate in the first place. I did not like getting my hair done. But if I didn’t I would be left to look like a wild child and my mom wasn’t having that.
As I grew up I noticed how girls with long relaxed hair or really loosely curled hair got a lot more attention than girls like me. Not necessarily from boys, I didn’t even care about boys then, but from people in general. Someone older person would just casually walk up to them and be like, “Oh my goooossh! You’re so cute! You got some good hair. What’s your name?….”. They would only then realize that they haven’t said anything to me the whole time, so to be polite and not make me feel left out they would just say something nice and be on their way. You see, no one had to tell me my hair was what was considered ‘bad hair’, I just knew if it wasn’t good then it had to be bad. I also got the idea that I had ‘bad hair’ from constantly being told I had really nappy hair when my hair was being done. I’m sure they didn’t think that it had any real affect on me, but it did in the smallest but biggest of ways, if that makes sense.
After a while I silently started envying girls who had relaxers. I thought to myself, “Why can’t my hair be like that?” or “Why do I have bad nappy hair!?”. So I said enough is enough, I’m getting me some good hair. I made it a point of duty to nag my mom until she gave in, and she eventually did. At the age of 8 I got my hair relaxed and joined the good hair gang. Or atleast so I thought I did. My hair was long, it was at the middle of my small back. I was so happy. I could flip it and swing it and I didn’t have to worry about the war process of getting my hair done. It made my hair easier to deal with and more manageable for me and those around me as well. But little did I know there was still a battle to face ahead.
As years went by I noticed that most of the girls with relaxers, their hair became shorter and shorter with time. It looked scanty and it seemed to never really grow pass their neck or shoulders. Although my hair still remained pretty long, or at atleast what was considered long in the black community. That was probably due to the fact my hair was extremely thick and even though I relaxed it, it never seemed to fully relax. Which by the way, I almost always got burned or scabs from the relaxer being in my hair too long. But with time it never seemed to grow pass my shoulders. I decided that black people were just the race with bad hair that couldn’t be long with or without relaxer. I couldn’t understand why God would give us the bad hair and every other race the good hair. It seemed very unfair. So I grew up embracing the fact that black people just have the short end of the rope in life and we just have to make the best of what we have.
When I entered university as a Freshman I can say I was honestly fed up with my hair. It was just blah! I still had a good length to it sort of and got compliments every now and then but it just wasn’t doing it for me. It was thin and always breaking, and I was fed up with getting burnt from relaxers. I had tried to stop putting relaxers in my hair as a teenager but eventually went back to relaxing because of discouragement from a hair stylist and others around me, and I had no idea how to deal with the kinky afro textured hair growing out of my scalp. I did noticed that the longer I waited to get relaxers the longer and fuller my hair seemed to get. So I started stretching the time in between getting a relaxer. I tried to only get 3 to 4 relaxers in a year. But then I went to a hair salon that completely jacked my hair up. They left the relaxer in my hair for way too long and decided to fry my hair with heat as well, as if they wanted to fry chicken. All my progress went down the drain. I was fed up! Out of frustration and looking for a solution to help make my hair healthy again I started searching on the internet how to get healthy long hair. To my surprise I found some nice articles on how to do it but the biggest surprise was the information that started coming up on natural hair and growing your hair natural and long. When I saw some of the women who had decided to take that route and the way their hair looked and the lengths they were able to achieve I was hooked and immediately said I’m not putting another relaxer in my head, and I meant it.
February 2011 is the month and year I began my transition to natural hair. It’s one of the best hair decisions I’ve ever made in my life. We’re now in the year 2017 and I have no regrets. Despite the fact that I have had my fair share of difficulties with learning how to take care of my hair and I’ve done some things I shouldn’t have. I’ve done a lot of the right things to help maintain and grow my hair out, which has resulted in my hair growing longer than it’s ever been in my life. It’s been a wonderful and sometimes frustrating process but nevertheless it’s been the best. I think the best part of my journey is realizing that as a black girl I’m not flawed and God ddn’t make any mistakes when he made the black race. We’re beautiful and our hair amazeballs! We just have to learn to understand and embrace who we are and what we have. Going natural basically basically helped me to accept myself fully as a black person, and I love it. I’m still not at my goal length yet, which is waist length long hair, but I’m gradually getting there and I’m happy to share the information I’ve learned along the way so far.
So if you were wondering about going natural or unsure whether you should start I want to encourage you to give it a try. It can truly be rewarding and you’ll be thankful you did.
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