My name is Desirae. I absolutely love your website. I check it EVERY day. I love what you do and the fact that you give all of us a place to connect and bond. In this crazy world, it’s nice to have a safe haven where it’s nothing but love for each other.
I have been wanting to submit something to your site since July (when I officially started transitioning). I had even started my own blog that was based on natural hair as well as weight loss because I was going through both journeys at the time. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find time to keep the blog going so I took it down. I can’t help it anymore..I had to write to you. Hair was something I used to define how I felt about myself. If I was having a bad hair day then it was a bad day all around. You couldn’t tell me nothing if my hair was jacked!!
I have battled with my weight since I was in middle school. I was what my family called a “skinnie minnie” when I was in elementary school. I began to gain weight in the 4th grade. I had a ton of friends then and I never noticed I was getting bigger until one day when I was running to the lunch line with my friends. I heard this kid from another class tell his friend “Let’s hurry up before she eats all the food.” At first, I wondered who he was talking to until to my horror I saw he was pointing at me. From then on, my hair was my shining glory. I had always had long, thick hair. I got compliments every time I went to a beauty salon. Sadly, I only felt pretty when I was being complimented on my hair. My mother and my aunts knew how to press hair so I was fortunate enough to not have to perm my hair.
I didn’t know how to really take care of my own hair so when I got older I had to learn how to straighten it. It was either that or be subjected to wearing my hair in buns for the rest of my life. I was terrified of having some freak accident with the hot combs…I am extremely clumsy!!! So I wore buns and ponytails when I didn’t have someone to do my hair. The strain from “too tight” buns and ponytails destroyed my hairline (I’m still trying to get that mess back!!). My hairline wasn’t the only thing that took a beating because of my buns and ponytails. My self-esteem plummeted as well. It’s sad to say it now but I did not feel pretty unless my hair was straight and down my back. In retrospect, I realize that is because no one at school ever complimented me on anything unless my hair was straight. After months of ponytails, I would come to school with my hair pressed and the girls in my class were full of compliments. They wanted to touch it, like it was this foreign thing at a museum. Mind you, I went to a school that was predominantly Caucasian. They asked me how I had gotten my hair straight and so long so quick. The nice answer, “My hair was in a bun..duh!! They would say they liked my hair better that way. The questions were confusing but I adored the compliments. I started begging people to straighten my hair. I needed to look how society wanted me to look. I felt like it was the only was I could be accepted. I decided that if I could not be the thin girl, then my hair was definitely gonna be crackin’. The state of mind continued until I got to college.
I moved away to Riverside. I started flat ironing my hair. I would style my hair and wrap it on a Saturday. Of course, the scarf would fall off my hair so I would wake up with dents and crazy hair. I busted out the flat iron and went to work! Yes, I put heat on my hair almost every day. I cringe just typing that now. My hair began to break off. My hair had once been past my shoulders but I had fried it to above my chin. I started falling in love with curly hair back in 2007. I wanted it but curling irons and I did not get along. Like a lame, I put a texturizer in my own hair. HUGE MISTAKE!!! The breakage got worse and I was horrified. I was losing the only thing that made me feel good about myself. I went to my hairdresser and asked for her help in fixing the mistake I had made. I had just gotten a new job so I had to get myself together. She told me that I could only grow the texturizer out. I didn’t know anything about hair so I told her it was her choice…she was the expert!! Her course of action was to cut the damaged ends off and perm my hair. She later wrapped it with wrapping mousse. I regret that decision to this day.My hair was stiff and smelled like it was burning ALL the freaking time. That was January 2008. That was the last day I put any chemicals in my hair. I continued flat ironing my hair turning to my friends for advice on how they retained their length. I even bought the exact same flat iron as one of my friends that had hair similar to how my hair had once been. Then I stumbled into the virtual world of natural beauty. I googled “Caring for African American Hair” and a list of sites popped up. I clicked one and the rest is history. It was like Myspace..you know you found your friend’s page and they have a flirty comment from someone you don’t know. You click that person’s page and next thing you know you are looking at some random person who lives thousands of miles away…oh…was that just me?? Anyways I just followed this string of websites until I had all of this information I never knew existed. I knew nothing about this community I have come to love with all my heart. It was like finding this different world. July 2009 was when I decided I wanted to be natural. September 2009 was when I decided I needed the relaxed and damaged ends to go away. I chopped them all off myself!!
I have learned so much about myself. I have gained so much confidence from letting my natural hair be. CN.com and YouTube are my addictions right now. I have to literally pull myself away from them. I have so many friends in my head..it’s ridiculous!! I am still battling with my weight but being on this natural journey has made that battle fade. I still want to lose weight to be healthier but I look in the mirror and I love what I see..curves, love handles, big hair, and all! I don’t define myself by how my hair looks anymore because there are days when people hate my hair and tell me so..but I couldn’t care about that. I love my hair. It’s a part of me and learning to love this part of me has helped me learn how to love all of me. My favorite thing to do is when I detangle my hair with conditioner in it, I look at my natural curl pattern in the mirror. I walk around the house showing everyone these cute little coils I never knew I had. I want to thank you Nikki and all the lovely ladies who share their stories. Some of you have helped me deal with my life issues and I could never thank you all enough.
Desirae, you have the most GORGEOUS hair, and a truly warming smile. I absolutely love the joy in your eyes in that last pic. I am so glad that you found the strength and courage to liberate yourself from a negative self-image. You inspire me to do the same. Much love!
desi, you are a beautiful woman inside and out. thanks for sharing your story! it's given me inspiration to grow my natural hair out again!! xx
I remember you in middle school…I saw that first picture like HEYYYYY I KNOW HER!!
Sometimes people can be so cruel and not realize exactly the strain they put on others. I think you were beautiful then and even more beautiful now!! YAYYY TO NATURAL HAIR!
Wow…I thought I was reading my own story!!!!! I always had long hair and always battled with weight issus. I know EXACTLY what you are going thru, and CN is my friend in my head, its an obssesion!! 🙂
I loved all the comments everyone left on my story so much that I was inspired to start my blog back up…thanks everyone!!!
Love her story
This story was very insightful and moving: I know exactly what you are talking about. The pictures really show your new, extremely radiant beauty. Your eyes look so happy in the last ones! Amazing. Thank you for inspiring me and congratulations for your patience and strength.
Thanks for sharing. You and your hair are beautiful.Like the other posters I totally understand your point of view.
What a wonderful and inspiring story! Thanks for sharing it. Best of luck to you!
Thank you so much for sharing, I relate a lot to your story.
such a beautiful story from a beautiful person! your natural hair truly adds to the natural beauty that was always there. thank you for sharing this story.
I am at work reading this and I am reduced to tears. Not because I am sad but happy. To know that it is not just me who feels defined by hair. I started my transition 3 mos ago and everytime I wash my hair I just marvel at the curl pattern and feel even more beautiful than ever before. Being in a corporate world it was hard to finally concede to my wants but at the same time I want to be happy. If I died tomorrow they would replace me so why not put me first while I am alive. Kudos to you for sharing your story. You too are an inspiration.
i cried when I read this — BIG HUG DESIREE'!!!
you are beautiful just as you are :)))))
This story is truly inspiring – it look a lot of strength to share this journey with everyone. Thank you, and awesome hair!
Great story.. great hair!
Yay!!! This is a great story. Many of us can relate to Desirae's story. It is amazing how getting your "head" right can empower a person in other aspects of their lives. Thank you Desirae for sharing your wonderful and uplifting story, and thank you Nikki for providing this forum for so many beautiful women to express their natural selves.
Have a great day ladies!
Hi there! I notice that you stand out so much more with natural hair. Your gorgeous features are more pronounced. 🙂 Please know that you are beautiful, anyway – just the way God created. Have a blessed day!
I LOVE THIS STORY! I feel so inspired and I am so happy be apart of a natural community of sisters. Im glad for the decision you made Desirae!
Wish you all the best. Choose happiness! =)
Yay!!! I am on Curly Nikki!!!!! When I got word I was going to be on here I almost fell out of my bed..haha…thanks to everyone who has commented already…u ladies know how to make a girl feel beautiful!! I just want you all to know that you gave me a little confidence boost for this History final I am about to go take 🙂
you are beautiful! thank you for sharing your story.
What a wonderful story! Congrats on making the change and loving it! You look great and your hair is so pretty!
This is an amazing story! I love it and like others, find myself identifying with this story soooo much! Weight has always been that nagging thing in the back of my mind that always ends up manifesting itself negatively in my view of myself. I love how you learned to love you through loving your hair. I find myself doing the same thing throughout my transition. Thanks you sooooo much for sharing! You look great gurl!!!
Love your hair! I think you are beautiful with your natural hair, from the pictures I can see that it just makes you stand out more than the straight hair.
Good story! I hear ya about the addiction to learning about our natural hair. I have to force myself to step away from the computer (CN and other natural hair blogs, fotkis and YouTube videos). I think A-A *natural* hair care should be a course available schools!
Thank you so much for sharing your story. I identify with you on so many levels…it felt like I was reading about myself. I just recently vowed to go natural and stop validating myself by my hair and my weight. It's going to be a long journey, but I'm glad to know that I'm not alone.
It's amazing to see how our hair can be so tied up with our self-esteem. I can understand where you are coming from…when my hair was on point, my day went a little bit better because of the compliments… after having what I think was an allergic reaction to the relaxer in 2008, I decided that I would never get relaxers again (I hated flat hair anyway!) So August 2008 was my last relaxer. I'm not planning on doing a big chop anytime soon but I'm learning to love my hair more and more each day, even if it doesn't look super FLY! Hair does not define who you are and I'm so happy to be going natural!!!
PS: I totally relate to that whole myspace thing LOL