It was November 11, 2009 and I was once again torturing myself with a touch-up relaxer. Eight times out of 10, a touch up relaxer meant pain for me but I did it—because “a woman’s hair is her beauty.” That’s what I was taught to believe by the adult women in my life.
I have been putting chemicals in my hair since I was 8 years old and although it was clearly not MY choice to relax my hair initially, I was brought up to believe that nappy hair meant ugly and unkempt hair, so the thought of not chemically processing my hair was never an option for me.
My work life in 2009 was VERY stressful (ie 12 hour days, working weekends, etc) and the stress was taking a toll on my body (and my psyche!). But when my hairdresser told me in November that my hair was falling out, I panicked. For the last few months during every visit, stylists in my particular salon tried to convince me to stop getting relaxers… but until this moment in November with the fear of hair loss looming, I wasn’t listening. To me (back then), the only thing worse than nappy hair would be no hair at all.
One would think that would be all I needed to hear. But nope, I still fought it. I decided to schedule an appointment with a dermatologist to get a “medical opinion” on whether I was really balding. Now mind you, I myself could see the bald spots and could tell that my hair was thinning… but I wanted to hear from an expert before I gave up the creamy crack. I mean, couldn’t my hair loss be connected to the stress in my work life and have nothing to do with the relaxers?
As much as I fought the idea of no more relaxers, I was TERRIFIED of my hair loss. So in preparation for the dermatologist agreeing with my hairdresser (no more relaxers), I began to do on-line research on what it would mean to stop relaxing my hair.
I first discovered the myriad of you tube videos that piqued my interest. Then I began to find blogs that were helpful until I discovered my personal “holy grail” of knowledge—curlynikki.com! This journey of discovery took about 3 weeks. I had not yet had my appointment with the dermatologist and I promptly called and canceled. Why? Because it no longer matter what she said, I was going to go natural!
Even once I made this decision, I had mixed feelings of freedom, excitement, anticipation, and still some fear. I look back at one of my first blog posts on the topic of my hair from mid-January and I can’t believe how much my mind set has changed since then. In that post, I have an example of natural hair that “scared” me at the time… and now, I look at that same picture and am envious of her 100% natural curly hair.
For 20 years, I believed my natural hair was ugly and unmanageable. And in the matter of 4 short months, I love all my natural new growth, I love learning how to keep my hair healthy and moisturized, I love the way my new growth feels and looks. I love my natural new growth so much; I hate my relaxed straight ends. I always believed my new growth would be the thorn in my side during my transition, turns out it’s those stringy straight relaxed ends. Funny what a little time and a lot of research will do.
My transition will be long (or so I keep telling myself!) but my transformation has been quick and dramatic.
You can check out my natural hair journey through photo updates at my blog.
Twist n Curl