CN: Were you a long term or short term transitioner, and why?
I was a short term transitioner. I waited six months, mostly because I wanted SOME hair to start with instead of going for a complete chop. I also have a boyfriend who talked me out of every chance I had to just go for broke and hack it all off out of impatience. Not because he wanted me to keep my relaxed hair, but because he doesn’t like to see women with close hair cuts. I would’ve had crazy length by now if I cut it anyway. (Note to transitioners: DO NOT LISTEN TO YOUR BOYFRIEND/GIRLFRIEND/
CN: When did you BC? What was your initial reaction to your natural hair?
I BC’d on December 30, 2008. I was just happy to be rid of my relaxed hair! I couldn’t stand to deal with the two textures anymore, and I was just eager for a change. I fell in love with my curls instantly, but learning how to style and take care of them was a little rocky at first. That’s only because I was annoyed that I couldn’t do all the cool styles that I saw on YouTube right away (my hair was still fairly short despite transitioning). Eventually my hair reached a length that I could really style it to get the look that I wanted. I also got into the habit of protective styling, and that’s helped A LOT with just the overall health of my hair. I’m currently sporting black and purple yarn braids/genie locs courtesy of the awesome BlackOnyx77. =)
CN: How did family and friends react to the new you? What was your response to them?
My family and I are no longer on good terms, but I CAN say that when I had relaxed hair they used to THREATEN me when I mentioned cutting it even for a trim. I imagine my going natural would inspire death threats and bombs in the mail. (I’m exaggerating of course.) If they saw me now, I seriously doubt they’d even RESPECT my decision. They believe that “long, STRAIGHT hair = beauty”. If they saw my hair as it was now, they’d find me unattractive and tell me TO MY FACE that I’m unattractive because I went natural. Rude and unfair? Absolutely, but that’s how they are. It’s their way or the highway, and I’ll be on the road FOREVER. That kind of negativity, I don’t need.
Friends and co-workers however? Most of them were EXTREMELY supportive! I was surprised! Even my supervisor and managers like my hair. Of course you’ve got the few that disagree, but they respected my decision and grew to love my hair as much as I do. Some have even made the choice to go natural themselves! My boyfriend (whom I met while transitioning) is my number one cheerleader! HE has serious Hand AND NOSE In Fro Disease! He’s always touching and smelling my hair. It’s hilarious!
CN: What was your transition routine?
I’m going to be REALLY honest here. My transitioning routine was “wash & flat iron”. I’m so serious. In the beginning, I had no idea what I was doing. I WAS co-washing (TreSemme) though, so that was a start. But it wasn’t until later on in my transition at around month four or five, that I found the lovely ladies on YouTube (DPrincess28, Richeau, RusticBeauty) and got schooled. Come the big chop, I was ready!
CN: How did you moisturize your hair to prevent breakage at the new growth line?
I didn’t worry about breakage at the new growth line because I moisturized that part of my hair anyway. That was always a habit of mine, even before I went natural. The breakage/damage I DID have though, was at the back of my head from all the flat ironing. It’s going to be cut away as I trim (if it’s not already gone by now–it’s been long enough).
CN: Why did you choose to go natural?
To be frank, I wanted hair that was MINE. I wanted hair that was unique to ME, and could only be mine ALONE. I looked around me, and damn near everyone had RELAXED hair. From the neck down and on the inside, HELL YEAH I stood out (PROUD Metalhead since I was SIX YEARS OLD!!). But my hair didn’t stand out. It didn’t reflect who *I* was. I just reached a point where I was getting truly irritated with my hair. I was tired of relaxing it, tired of having to wrap it every night and do this and that to it all to look like everyone ELSE. I HATED it because it wasn’t ME, it wasn’t MINE. All that long straight came from a BOX at the low low price of $6.99 and 25 minutes of my time. It would NEVER be mine, contrary to what commericals and ads say. And of course I was considering the the long term effects of the harsh chemicals IN relaxers and the products that support it. I got to a point where I didn’t want ANYTHING to do with relaxers and straight hair ANYMORE. I was DONE. I said “screw this, I’m going natural”. I didn’t/still don’t/never will/don’t want to fit in anyway, so why continue to FORCE my hair to look the same as everyone elses?
Fast forward a year later after my BC, I’ve got a head full of spirals that you’re NOT going to get from a box OR in a plastic package from a beauty supply store. They’re mine, ALL MINE. I can style my hair however I want now, from a wash and go to a full on, BODACIOUS BIG AFRO that Pam Grier herself would be proud of! Beats having relaxed hair with a stick. Needless to say, there will be NO MORE “fitting in” from the neck up for me! =D
First Pic: June 2008 and my FINAL relaxer.
Second pic: One year after my BC, ignore the sleepy face. Got back from a concert that night!
Third pic: Current yarn braids/genie locs until mid to late February.