Hi Nikki and all of you other curlies out there,
My name is Caprea, and I have been natural for about 7 months now. This is my second attempt at transitioning, but I have fallen so in love with my curls, that I’m not turning back!
I have always loved my hair. I take that back… not always. My mom relaxed my hair when I was in the 2nd grade because it was so thick and difficult to manage–especially since I was so tender-headed… I could hardly stand for my hair to be touched. I remember after my first Just for Me relaxer, my hair was so straight that my mom tried to put a clip in it but it slid right out! At that time, I equated straight hair with beauty, so I was thrilled.
As I got older I continued to get relaxers, and as a teen and into adulthood, I relaxed my hair every 4 weeks faithfully. Over the years I received tons of compliments on my hair. Therefore, when I was feeling insecure about the fact that I have my dad’s hands instead of my mom’s, or when I was particularly bothered by my brother’s incessant taunting about how fat I was (it turns out that I had a great body back then but little brothers will NEVER admit that to their big sis) or whatever the shortcoming of the day appeared to be, I could look to my hair as a source of pride. It was one of the things that gave me confidence in my physical appearance.
As I got older and had kids, my skin began to take a turn for the worse. I have always had eczema and sensitive skin, but when I hit 24, it went haywire. My scalp was one of the most affected areas which prevented me from relaxing my hair. I relaxed it once after it broke out and I burned it badly enough that just combing my hair became a challenge. I decided that it was time to cut out the relaxers to restore the health of my scalp and hair. I tried to transition slowly, but my hair got too weak and began to break. That was when I decided to big chop the first time.
I was terribly afraid to cut my hair, but when I did, I loved it and so did everyone else. I loved it until it started growing into a TWA, and then I got frustrated with the limited style options. In the meantime, my skin cleared up, and I gave in to temptation and got a new cut and relaxer.
Once again, my sensitive skin began to give me trouble. I had been thinking about trying to “go natural” again considering that not only was my skin suffering, but thinking about the impression I was making on my very curly haired daughter. At age 4, she was already convinced that to be beautiful your hair had to be straight. With those things already on my mind a friend asked me about transitioning and told me she wanted to “big chop” so we went together.
Along with eliminating relaxers, I have committed to trying to use as many natural products as possible and avoiding more of the harmful ingredients found in a lot of hair & body products so that I can avoid skin irritation as much as possible. But also because I am concerned about the long-term affects of using harmful products on my skin and hair.
I have struggled off an on with my hair. The TWA has been a real challenge for me because I never saw myself as the “fro” type. However, my hair is beginning to grow past that stage, and as I learn more about how to care for it, I discover the beauty that was always there. It is important for me to accept myself as my creator made me because that is what I teach my daughter, and it is important that she learn that not only from listening to me, but by being able to follow my example.
As I continue to read and experiment and find new styles and techniques, I begin to enjoy my hair more and more. I have found a new level of confidence in my hair’s beauty and that has carried over into my overall self-image.
Thank you Curly Nikki for playing a role in my mental transformation to “Curly Caprea”. The forum you provide has been immensely useful and therapeutic for me, and I have become somewhat addicted to your site which I have stayed up late many a night to browse.
My former hair love was based on artificial appearances. I have fallen in love with my hair all over again, but this time it is true love.
All the best in the New Year!