Carmen of God Men and Money writes:

I’ve been ‘natural’ for about 18 years. Bending to societal pressure and the Florida humidity, I conceded to my first and last perm at 12. Surprise, surprise, I hated it! My thick, shoulder length hair turned into a crunchy, hot mess.
No one told me that every one’s hair texture wouldn’t respond well to a relaxer.
My hair has never really recovered from my foray into chemical land.
Moving on, I transitioned back out of perm land, even before there were great portals like yours to guide me. I mainly used the advice of one of the hair beauty consultants in a Black Hair magazine–her main point was not to use a pressing comb when growing out a perm. At around 16, the remnants of the relaxer finally grew out. Surprisingly during that period I had grown the longest hair of my life.
Now, even though I’ve been ‘natural’ my whole life–it wasn’t until this year that I started experimenting with my hair in its pure, natural state. The press & comb, flat iron, and the Doobie were my standard hair styles up until this year. If I wanted to give my hair a break, I wore my hair pulled back in a wavy bun or I wore a weave. You see, my hair always confused me–it’s wavy & it’s curly and usually dry [because I have never found the right product that wouldn’t weigh down fine, straight hair].

For some time, I’ve had a hint that maybe I had some great curls lurking beneath the dryness. This is because, post–washing, my gorgeous, wavy/curly always hair looked healthy and nice. But a short time later, that waviness turned to dry frizziness.
I decided in 2010 that I was going to learn how to do this curly head of mine. At the beginning of the year, I tried all types of products and I viewed 10s of videos trying to figure out what to do with my hair and my hair type. I grew frustrated because none of the products seemed to work and none of the hairstyles made me feel great. I would leave my house with fresh looking hair, and less than an hour later it would turn into a frizzy chaos. I would end up, always, having to pull my hair back up in a bun. The frustration made me feel like my natural hair look was unkept and I didn’t really want any parts of it.
By August, I bit the bullet and went to a salon that specializes in my hair. I wanted to learn how to love my hair without straightening it. A few friends had visited my salon of choice and they all looked amazing after the owner put his hands in their hair.
The salon experience was awesome.
Even though I wasn’t thrilled about the trim [that turned into a chop], or the hefty price I paid [300+]….I was shocked, geeked and excited about my post look.

I had finally found my curls!! I left the salon feeling pretty in my curls for the very first time, IN LIFE!
I was relieved.
I’ve only straightened my hair once since August. I’m searching for a new job, and at times I feel the urge to straighten it to look more main stream. But, I usually quell the urge because this ‘look’ is how I will be wearing my hair for a few months out of every year. So, wherever I work, they will need to get used to the versatility of this black girl’s hair.
For the first time, I am absolutely in love with my hair. I love the flexibility it gives and I feel like now I have a choice in ALL hair styles. This week I can straighten it, the next week I can twist it, and another week I could protect it with a great looking weave [oh, I love a great weave].
I believe the way we wear our hair is all a choice, and it’s all beautiful. Being ‘more’ natural has given me an even greater appreciation for all types of textures, hair styles, and even my sister-friends who adore the creamy crack 🙂
Mastering my natural hair has given me a sense of freedom beyond belief. It’s given me more creativity to be ME–and that ME’s look can and will change everyday. How amazing!