I used to bask in the thick silkiness of my hair after a relaxer. I absolutely loved it, and was totally addicted to the crack. I would walk out of the beauty shop feeling like one of those girls on the hair commercials. Switching my head from side to side, smiling, and waiting for that fine man to come hand me a rose (the last part never happened). I would go out with my friends, feeling like I looked fabulous; and knowing that the entire world agreed. Skip 7 months ahead, and that hair commercial girl has vanished—and there’s just me.
So what happened to that fabulous chick? Well, truth is I’m finding her somewhere inside. The fabulous chick is in me, I’m just learning to express it in another way. I’ve been transitioning for 7 months now. The road has been bumpy for me because my hair health took a dive for the worst. I’m trying to get my hair back on track now, but holding on to the hope of one day having a head full of natural hair is difficult. It’s especially difficult when your hair is behaving strangely, is unhealthy, or is just difficult to style—mine is all three. Here’s the story.
I graduated from college May 2009, right in the middle of the recession. I’ve always been an ambitious girl, with dreams bigger than my body. But needless to say, I had a very difficult time finding a job. I searched for months on end, and eventually landed a position, but I hated every minute of it. I was extremely unfulfilled. So here I am, in one of the most difficult times of my life, and I’m thinking, “at least I still have my lovely healthy hair”—NOT!!!! I started to notice that my hair was very thin in the front. And then my hairdresser told me it was thin all over. Nobody, in my entire life, has ever called my hair thin.
That was my breaking point. I decided then that I would go natural, because it would be the healthiest thing for my hair. Plus, I was getting bored with relaxed hairstyles, and I wanted something new. But I couldn’t shake the crummy feeling I had every morning when I would look at my hair, and see the thinning. At this point, I wanted to rock some of the natural styles I see on curlynikki.com—but my hair was so dead that I was even starting to hate it.
With the drastic change in my hair, my confidence was shaky. I would see other naturals with huge afros and my insides would turn with envy. I wanted it so bad, but I was nowhere close and making very little progress. I would count the months since my last relaxer, and I would try to gauge where my hair should be compared to where it was. That only increased my hair depression and hair envy. I felt like I was back in grade school trying to be friends with the long hair girls.
Where I Am Now
I’m 7 months into my transition, and things are not looking much better. I have very little new growth, and my hair is still thin in places. Sometimes I feel like I hate my hair, and I feel horrible about it. But I realize that I have to stop thinking about hair as my central being—I am so much more. If I had my way, my hair would tell the world that I am bold, sophisticated, and not afraid to be my true self. But right now, my hair isn’t saying any of that. Right now, it needs to be nursed back to health and I may get a scalp biopsy soon (pending a current treatment from my dermatologist).
I feel like I have every reason in the world to get a relaxer—just to get that old confident feeling back. But I won’t, for so many reasons. Black women have so much of their identity built on their hair. Whether it’s straight, curly, long, or non-exsistant—our hair styles tell the world something about us. And I want my hair to reflect how I am building an identity outside of fabulous hair (relaxed or natural). I am finding a me that I initially couldn’t see—the fabulous chick is making a comeback.
I feel the same exact way you are feeling in the beginning of 09 my hair kept falling out in strands it didn't look like it was shedding by my birthday 3 months later everything was back to normal and the summer also proved to be the same. I colored my hair in September of that same year and my hair fell out and i cut it short. My hair grew back nicely to shoulder lengths but in fall 2010 when i returned back to school i experienced the same falling out as before. I was told to go to a dermatologist but i was really scared to find out what was wrong 🙁 . I have decided to eliminate creamy crack from my life but i feel like there is a deeper issue that I am refusing to check out :(. Good Luck it could just be stress
My experience is similar to yours. I decided to go natural because my edges were very thin and i had a big patch of hair in the back of my head that just refused to grow for many years. I transitioned for about 6 months and i have been completly natural for 10 months. I was sure that my hair would never grow back. Well it did. It took some time but it did. I think it's a good idea to go to the doctor so you know where you stand. Hold on! I understand the importance that hair can have in one's life but remember that your hair is not the only way you can express who you are. Believe that you are bold and sophisticated despite your hair journey. I wish you luck!
Every day you are becoming more and more bold, sophisiticated, and not afraid to be your true self. I know that your hair just HAS to get the message one of these days. Go our and set the world on fire! Sue Ellen
I’m currently transitioning and experiencing a lot of shedding as well. However, I'm only 3 months in to the process. You should definitely make an appointment to go to the doc's office (a dermatologist preferably) and get some lab work test done. I found out my shedding was due to low iron. It might not be the same for you, but you should definitely get an evaluation just to make sure. Good Luck.
I think it is great that you are getting your hair back to its natural state. I am a Women's Health Nurse Practitioner and think that is best. Sounds like you are seeing a dermatologist which is good. I want to encourage you to continue your medical follow up as directed because hair "thinning" is not usually caused by chemicals but often by an underlying condition. So you need to have your thyroid and prolactin levels checked. If it was only breakage, I'd say go chemical free to help, but sounds like you need further workup. Please follow up and good luck on your natural journey….i've been on mine for almost 2 years and loving it!!
This is my friend!! I am ssssoo proud she is pretty fantastic!
Hi Rosalyn, thanks for sharing your experience. Hang in there, most things change and get better with time. Everyones hair is different and many have different transitioning stories, however most have one thing in common. Most have to work at finding a regimen and learning to accept their hair during each stage of the journey, no matter how different it looks at different lengths. Continue to take care of your hair, and like you said follow up with your dermatoligst to see if they have any further suggestions. Don't give up, be encouraged, and tell yourself that you are beautiful at all times. Be your biggest cheerleader and other things will begin to fall in place. You look beautiful in every picture that you sent. Check out my short hair pictures and story of transitioning at my website/ blog at www.barbaranaturallyspeaking.com. I remember feeling the same way and over time almost 3 years now, things began to change. Hang in there!!!
Well said and I can definitely relate. Since I can remember I have had hair envy…I am middle aged: haven't had a perm in years nor have I applied applied heat in months! I wear my hair ALWAYS at work pulled back; tryin on the weekends to embrace my thinning side and top and yet curly hair–I am afraid to find out the cause of my hair loss…so I here I am still tring to learn to how to love my hair!!!
I think you are absolutely beautiful! I can relate to exactly what your experiencing and all I can say is…hold on. The journey may not be easy but it will be rewarding soon enough. Stay lovely pretty girl!
Beautiful piece. I also graduated from college in May 09 and now how you feel about the job market when you have all these dreams and ambitions. I have found that when our life experiences are filled with stress and isn't truly resonating with our heart, our body and hair (in this circumstance) suffer also. Follow your heart and everything will fall into place. Take care of soul, mind,heart, and body first. It takes a lot of courage to follow our heart when our head tells us something else, but we can do it. Good luck with the job thing, your hair's journey, and life in general.
first let me start by saying that i love your hair in the second picture. making the decision to go natural is one that you will absolutely not regret. it can be challenging and that old green monster can rear up from time to time, but just know that you are uniquely beautiful. also be mindful that someone may be looking at your hair and saying to themselves "man, i wish my hair looked like her hair." i use regular castor oil and it is great for getting and maintaining thickness, and i hear a lot of people use jamaican black castor oil and they absolutely swear by it.
Here goes another reason so that you don't come back to relaxers: you are a lot more beautiful with natural/curly hair. You rock in the second picture.
It's normal feeling bad sometimes during the transition or while hair is short, but the secret is trying to focus on something else (I myself have not been successful with it, I go to the salon and let them make mistreat my hair, except relaxers, but I will learn).
God bless you for your honesty! I hope everything works out for you.
Please think about having a physical and having your hormones, thyroid and other items tested. When our body is out of whack on the inside, the outside changes.
Um excuse me, but your hair is too cute in that picture! And I actually had my hair cut to that length in March! Girl you better werk!
I hope everything works out for the best with your hair and scalp… I've been taking more vitamin D and fish oil capsules, per my doctor, and I've noticed some hair growth. I wish you the best on your journey. Don't forget that we ALL are on a journey 🙂
Thanks so much for the honesty, it takes a lot of strength to put it all out there like that. I can relate to having similar feelings when I started out on my own hair journey with badly damaged, broken off hair. Just keep on hanging in there. You often discover so many positive things about yourself you probably did not even know before. Good luck with that scalp biopsy.
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cool, you should do a foolow up post when she does the BC
i hope that your hair thickens back up and you feel beautiful 🙂 what about biotin shampoos/pills? vitamin regimen? do you wear protective styles a lot to help it grow? good luck love!
If that's your hair now in the pic I think it looks great! Just hang in there you've been transitioning only 7 months it will fill in and you'll hhave that full afro in no time girl. Keep your head up and take the time to enjoy each stage.
I rarely see my name spelled exactly like another Rosalyn! Anywho, hang in there. I PROMISE it gets easier. Remember, your hair is your hair. Just like your fingerprints are your fingerprints. It's a process and process and change can be difficult at first. Nothing worth having ever truly comes "easy". Hang in there!
Keep your head up beautiful.
I found myself doing the same thing (almost 11 months post BC): looking at other naturals and comparing my hair to their hair and getting mad because i feel like my hair is not where it should be.
So i put my hair in kinky twists until i get over it. lol…
Wow, thanks for being so honet and sharing with us. Everyone's journey is different but it does get easier. Hang in there. ~KF519
Very good post, very honest wrote. 🙂
Beatifully put. I just want to say this to you…be patient and before you know it your hair will grow to where you want it. You may also try to incorporate castor oil in your regimen. Give it a try…and happy hair growing.
Insightful post. Thx for sharing.
What an honest, honest story! I appreciate the writer's strength in presenting her true feelings. Great read and good luck on the journey…before you know it, you'll be rocking that huge hair!!! Take care!
Wonderfully well written! Thanks for sharing this.