Lenora, a gorgeous CN.com reader and subscriber, submitted her story to share with, and inspire long-term transitioners. Check her out!

Hello everyone!

I am beginning a journey that I never imagined I would embark on. I received my first relaxer at the age of 9 years. My mother felt my hair was too “nappy” and she could not handle it so she enlisted the help of my aunt who was a licensed beautician. She immediately slapped a relaxer on my head and this marked the beginning of my slavery to the straight world. For years I grew up envying women with lovely, curly hair. I always wanted a big, curly, full head of hair, but I thought it was totally out of my reach. One day at the age of 40, I began to notice that my hair was not growing like it used to. I have always had a head full of hair and I would cut it in a short style and it would grow back two weeks later. At 40 I had my stylist cut my hair into a short pixie cut. I noticed that after two months, my hair was the same length. This was not good. I also noticed my hair was thinning at the temples. My stylist at the time stated it was because of my age. I immediately told her I was not buying that and I began to seek out another stylist. I had received a card from my boyfriend who visited a stylist in St. Louis with his friend. I kept the card for months before finally calling her to help.

This marked the beginning of a love affair with my natural hair. She told to me that my hair was not “nappy”. She stated I had a tight “s” curl pattern and I did not need to wear relaxers. Since my hair was very short, she began my natural journey by giving me a sew-in weave to allow my hair a rest and to give me some length while at the same time allowing my relaxer to grow out. You see, I did not want to do the BC because I felt my head was way too big for that. I wore the weave for six months and my hair grew out 3 inches. I went through the in-between stage for 3 months and I hated it at first, but the rod set really helped me out. My stylist suggested I go to CurlyNikki and take a look to find some tips and hairstyle options so I would not give up on my journey.

This was what the doctor ordered! Not only did I receive very helpful information on how to treat my hair, how to manage my tangles, and what products work best, I also realized there were other sistas out there just like me who had the same issues as I did. I finally realized it was not me or my hair that was the problem, but it was my lack of knowledge on the subject. I now embrace my natural head of hair and I will never look back. Not only has my hair grown tremendously over such a short period, it is also much healthier than it has been since I was younger. My last relaxer was November 2007 and I will never go back!

Rod Set

One week old twist-out

Straight Style (Natural – No relaxer for almost 2 years – since November 2007)

To submit your On the Couch story, click here.