My Healthy Hair Journey

25 12 2010

Day to day hair style with mini twists

I decided that the first thing you should know about me is about my hair.  Vain much? I don’t think so, you’ll get it in a minute…

So I have talked about having a 12 year old girl at home with me.  Well she is natural.  I have never put perm in her hair.  When she was little, I taught my self how to do the Venus Williams type braids in her hair and it worked well for us. She was an easy kid to do hair on, unlike her mother who used to have to get tied to a chair to get her hair combed.  She grew up with long hair down her back.  Once she hit about 9 years old, it just got to be too much for me to manage and I found myself having to make a choice.  Either relax it or figure something else out.

I was relaxed.  After years and years of begging my mom I got my first relaxer when I was 12.  I’ll never forget it.  I walked into the salon with hair that was down my back and I walked out with hair that was above my shoulders.  I was oblivious to this huge change though because I thought that now that my hair was straight, everything was gonna be alright!!  Never mind the fact that I didn’t know how to care for my hair at all.  Never mind the fact that when I got home, no one was going to show me what to do and I wouldn’t have listened if they tried.  Never mind the fact that I had just lost several inches of hair, not to the scissors but to the chemicals.  Now, I don’t blame the chemicals entirely, my hair was damaged from the get go from gas stove hot combs, that yellow creme press stuff, and the like, but I think the saddest part was my oblivion.  I left that salon destined for 25 years of not knowing what to do with my hair.  If I didn’t know how to care for my relaxed hair, how could I possibly care for my daughter’s hair?

Epic fail: self relaxer after a big chop.

So I went on a Google search to find some tips and techniques on maintaining “nappy,” “kinky,” “coarse” hair.  Those were the three terms that I used to search.   It was then that I came across Nappturality.com.  That was how I learned about “Going Natural.”  I started reading the posts there and checking out all the Fotki‘s that people had and I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.  All that hair, all those styles, homemade products and I could do that?!!?  Me?  No way was it as simple as these normal everyday women were making it seem!  In the past, I had cut my hair off and let it grow back only with the intent of relaxing once it got long enough.  That is what the pic below is.  I had recently cut it off and had just self relaxed it.  I did a bang up job don’t ya think!??!  It never occurred to me that I could let it grow back and not ever relax it again!

Fresh out of the stylists chair on my way to dinner to celebrate!

It wasn’t long before the synapses in my brain connected.  On a Tuesday overnight shift at my job it occurred to me that if I could do all this stuff to my kid’s hair, then why couldn’t I do it for my own?  That was the beginning of my transition.  I went home that Wednesday morning and called my regular stylist and told him that I wanted to cut my hair and could he make room for me on Friday?  He said yes.  So Friday August 17, 2007, I was sitting in his chair with him asking me if I was sure that I wanted to do this.  I was all gung ho and he took the clippers and went straight down the middle of my head!  That was the end of my transition.  I wish I had thought to take pics of the process, but I do have pics of the final result.

I have never looked back.  Honestly, I haven’t had the time for all that!  This natural hair thing, this healthy hair thing, this just feeling plain old good about myself thing has got me distracted.  I honestly can’t ever see myself going back to relaxing.  My hair is now healthier and longer than it has been since I got my first relaxer!  In addition, I have learned so much about my natural hair.  Taking care of it is , for me at least, so much easier than maintaining any kind of straight style.  I find it easier to express myself through my hair now and I know I have a confidence that is evident to others.  I like that a lot!

Length check after three years!

I think that the thing I find most surprising about these past few years is how much I have already changed!  Just by seeking out the advice, opinions and experience of others.  I have gained a wealth of new perspectives and interests.  I have learned about so much more than just how to care for my daughter’s natural hair.  I have also learned that I am capable of so much more than what I am right now.  I’ve found that my capacity for creativity and expression is boundless and I am finally at a place where I want to do all that I have the capacity to do.  I also learned that my nappy, kinky coarse hair is beautiful and I wouldn’t have it any other way!  That’s why I am doing this blog and that’s why I wanted to talk about my hair first.  Because sitting in that salon chair and shaving my head changed me in so many ways I can’t even count nor could I have even  come close to imagining!  The difference is that now I’m making my changes with you all.

What is the most surprising thing that you have learned on your healthy hair journey?

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