August 21, 2014

Tamera's Journey to Natural Hair

I was addicted to the creamy crack. Well... maybe it wasn't an addiction, but it was definitely something I thought would be a part of my life forever.  I mean, I'd been getting them since I was 5!  We are creatures of habit and continue to do what we're taught... It was something I had gotten used to... like brushing my teeth everyday, straight hair had just become a part of who I was.

I remember the "jump start" of the natural hair movement.  It was sometime in between my junior/senior year of college… You know the free spirit Denise Huxtable HBCU experience that all females try to capture.  We want to find ourselves… Maybe switch up our wardrobe… Chop our hair off… Take a few trips to Africa… Yes… I was Denise personified, but I just didn't want to chop off my hair!

I was traumatized at the touch of that first centimeter of "nappy hair" and could not wait to melt that kink away.  Every 4-6 weeks I sat in my beautician's chair faithfully. You see, I had what everybody would call "good hair" even relaxed.  My roller wraps were EVERYTHING!  My curls would fall in place as I gently unwrapped my hair every morning and occasionally I got the, "Is that a wig" question… You see I had no desire to stop getting relaxers… Everybody loved my hair and so did I.

Fast forward to the age of YouTube gurus… I started following the relaxed hair journeys of KISSseventyseven, ulovemegz, TheHappyHairShow, and prettywitty77. If you've visited any of these girls channels you would know that all of these ladies have achieved waist length relaxed hair… And that was my new desire… I'd always had healthy, relaxed hair… But I never could get it to grown past shoulder length (maybe bc my beautician deceived me into trimming my ends every time I got a relaxer… but that's another story lol) What I gathered after watching countless videos from them? In order to achieve waist length hair you have to 1. Stretch Relaxers and 2. Incorporate protective styles into your regimen.  I was on a mission and I had a plan- the journey to waist length hair.  I even started a pinterest board to track my journey Relaxed with a Natural State of Mind .

With a plan in mind, I ran to my local Whole Foods to buy all the natural oils and butters I believed would help me on my journey. The first two months were the hardest.  I remember feeling that new growth and thinking, Lawd! How am I gonna make it???? But after month 3 it got easier… This is where my plan began to shift.  I started to realize that my "nappy new growth" was in fact not nappy but manageable.

The next day, after the above picture was taken, I went and got a relaxer.  See, I was addicted.  Even after people commented on my picture telling me I didn't need a relaxer, I still longed for my creamy crack. Once I hopped out the chair I literally whipped my hair back and forth!  It felt so nice and silky, but there was one problem, I sort of missed the thick curly new growth I'd grown accustomed to over the past 3 months and my hair was short! I'd put all this effort into growing my hair for my ends to disappear after getting a relaxer.  Yep, I was done.

My first instinct was to never big chop.  Remember, I loved my hair… There was nothing wrong with it,  so I set forth a journey to long term transition for two years. I figured I'd be ready to cut my hair by then.

The longest part of long term transitioning was waiting. You wanted your long, curly tresses NOW! To keep my hands and mind off my hair I did a lot of braids, twist and weaves.  I can say with confidence that 12 out of the 16 months I transitioned my hair was in some sort of protective style….

Twist and braid outs and flexi rod sets were a big fail during the beginning of my transition.  Once the majority of my new growth took over (around month 14) I was able to start wearing my hair out more often. This is what brought along my Twist and Curl mini video-

It was after that video that I realized, I AM READY TO CHOP! Detangling my hair had gotten too complicated and I was tired of seeing those raggedy ends amongst my luscious curls.  But the hardest part to actually getting the cut was finding somebody you'd trust to do it.  I talked to many popular natural hair studios in Atlanta while trying to shop around for the best person for the job.  But I still was a little weary.  Then it dawned on me, I was going to a family reunion at the end of June and I have a cousin who is a professional stylist… the appointment was made! Check out the video below-

It's been a month since I've officially become 100% natural.  And this may sound cliche but it really is one of the best decisions I have made. 

Can you relate to her story?! Share below!

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