I remember it like it was yesterday. There I was, standing in the shower and had been for a while. My knees and legs ached from barely standing and balancing on the slippery ceramic of my tub as I worked to keep my balance amidst a half inch thick layer of multiple “moisturizing” conditioners; my cold, wet body shivering from the water that had once been a comfortable 80 degrees and filled the bathroom with a relaxing steam had now turned to an ice storm falling rapidly over my face, neck and back inducing waves of shivers which ran up and down my body second after second.
In one hand my fingers tightly gripped a useless denman – the brush that all those “other naturals” said I should buy. In the other a wide tooth comb that I worked in a now less than gentle and full of frustration-filled, angst tug as I tried to remove its teeth that had somehow gotten stuck on the right side of my head deep down in my tangled and brittle kinks.
If at that moment, the shower had not been on, and if one would have turned my life into the Truman show – a complete voyeuristic opportunity to see and feel my every move, you would have also seen me, standing there, buck naked, cold with tears running down my face – they would have been as real to you as the salty water was to me that came from my eyes and puddled at the split of my lips as I licked them out of frustration, hunger and thirst. and if you could, while watching me, also read minds at that moment – at that brittle time in my life – you would have known that right then, I fully regretted EVER going natural.
Those moments in the beginning of my natural hair journey were common and often. Moments of pure unadulterated frustration and almost hate for my hair and how it rebuked every thing I did to it.
But that night was the last night I stood in the shower and took an hour and a half to wash my hair. That moment broke me like a wild horse and it was at that moment, after I’d shed my last tear that I decided to finally not just listen to but HEAR to what other naturals with similar hair to mine were doing, LEARN about hair care, CREATE a regimen, MOISTURIZE my hair without pause, TRY new products based on my knowledge, MOVE ON if something didn’t work for me and LOVE what God had given me naturally.
After that moment as I lay in bed and reflected on what had just happened a few minutes earlier, and looked back and ran through where I was going wrong with my hair, the reflection alone was enough to take that big boulder of “my hair is too [fill in the blank]” off of my shoulders. what a relief when I finally stopped to really learn about what I SHOULD be doing with my hair. I slept very good that night despite that half detangled mass of wet hair on my head.
Why am i telling you this?
I know there is someone reading this now who can relate. just typing this makes me have flip flops in my stomach because I struggled soooo hard in the beginning of my journey that my shower memory, when recalled today, is still so very strong and pungent.
I’m now at a point where I could not love my hair more and my hair is finally in a happy state. My biggest hurdle and what caused me to be in that shower for so long was the sum of a few things I constantly did wrong. I refused to wash my hair in sections – completely in denial about the fact that I have hair that tangles much to much to wash it out and about. I didn’t detangle, nor did I want to take the time to do so, my hair loaded with conditioner before I got in the shower – something I automatically do now. I didn’t follow through on learning how to keep the moisture in my hair after wetting it thus my hair was severely dry from not knowing how to properly seal in that water. (please read how to moisturize hair if you are struggling), and finally, to be honest, I just had not come to the place where I was truly 100% in love with my texture.
Becoming the natural I am today took work, time, patience, and a lot of reflection. I didn’t want you to think that my journey was all puppies and lilies because it was not.
I think we all, especially those of us who have been natural for a very long time like myself and who started at the beginning of this turn around in hair care and enlightenment, have that story, at least one, where you wondered if you were doing the right thing, if being natural was the right decision.
I’ve chosen this life for me forever and I couldn’t be more happy and I no longer hold disdain for my kinky coils. I’ve shed numerous tears for my hair and the pain
that it once caused me I caused myself by being in denial about my hair and ignorant of its care. If you want to not only be natural, but a happy and stress free natural who enjoys her hair, you have to start with the basics and you must be willing to learn, try, sometimes fail and to really listen.
My haircare routine is stress free, and now fits seamlessly in with the rest of my life and I could not have asked to be in a better place. Had someone said to me back then at the moment that I was stepping out of the shower, hungry, tired and weak, shivering cold and hating life, that I would one day think that my hair is “major”, “boss” and “beautiful”, I probably would have shanked them in the throat with my bar of soap.
Thank God for living and learning.
We all have that one story that for many is a turning point.
If you could give a natural who may be reading this and is at her wits end with her waves, curls or coils any advice and share one story, what would that be, what would you tell her to help encourage her and what would you want her to know?
Be sure to include your hair type!