This is my story. I never set out to make a statement or “get back to my roots”. I never left my roots behind. I never bought in to the idea that black hair didn’t grow long or that straight hair means good hair. The bottom line? I just didn’t have a clue…period.
My grandmother says that a baby that comes out bald will have a head full of thick hair. I came out bald and I eventually had a head full of thick hair. I believe that’s the reason my mom started putting relaxers on my hair. It was so much hair and it took so long to tame it. And I didn’t know anything, I was only a child.
I never had a problem growing my hair. It grew like a weed. I loved my hair, even when it was relaxed. The problems were probably always there, but the damage happened over the years. I wore braids, a lot. There’s nothing wrong with that, but you should never let someone braid tight enough that your scalp throbs and you get tiny bumps along the hair line. On top of that, you should never get a perm and then hours later get the above stated tight, scalp throbbing braids. This was a routine for years and it eventually broke off my edges around the scalp. The breakage didn’t get any better and finally, I’d had enough. I had never had hair anywhere above my shoulders. My hair consistently remained at a length slightly below my shoulders. December of 2004, I came home and had an Angela Bassett moment although I was going for just a short bob, a short length that I felt I would be comfortable with. However, my mom didn’t cut my hair into a bob and she kept cutting it shorter and shorter to try and fix it. I finally went to a beauty salon and vowed that I was done with my mom putting her hands in my head! Lol and she hasn’t for the most part and unless I ask her to braid my hair for me when I’m at home.
After 6 months of a Halle Berry cut and growing it back out, I was still not happy with my hair. I decided to go natural June 2006. I went natural for me and no one else. I knew my hair could grow, I’d seen my hair grow to my shoulders and then stop once it got just a smidge past them. I wanted it longer. I wanted my hair healthy. I wanted a beautiful head of long natural hair. So, I got a sew-in and waited for the hair to grow.
I’m impatient and I knew I wouldn’t have the patience to deal with two different textures and if the frustration was great enough, I’d cave in and go get a perm. I was also scared of the idea of having such short, short hair, especially without a perm. So, I hid my hair for over 2 and a half years with sew-ins and braids. My natural hair never fell out with the braids or sew-ins and I felt my own hair was stronger without chemicals. I was falling in love and I hadn’t even cut off all of the relaxer yet. I cut off an inch or so every time I took down a sew-in or braids.
I felt I was ready to debut my hair May 2007. I cut off the last of the perm and pulled my hair into a beautiful puff. To this day, it is my favorite picture. I can’t get my hair to look the way it first did because my curls are much more defined now than they were when I first went natural, probably a testament to the products I’ve used over the year.
I have a love affair with my hair. I want to make it healthy, I it to grow down my back. I want that beautiful head of long, healthy, natural hair that I fantasized about when I decided to go natural. I don’t think I’ll ever go back to perms, I’m having too much fun with my hair and that makes me love it even more. My hair is versatile in a way I never knew it was. I can have any style I want, including straight hair, without having straight hair. My own natural hair is good enough and I’m so thrilled that I found that out.