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Curly Nikki

War and Peace: A Hair Story

By January 27th, 20217 Comments

War and Peace: A Hair Story

by Dr. Phoenyx Austin

Hi, my name is Phoenyx and I’m so excited to be guest blogger on! I’ve watched CurlyNikki grow through the years and it’s such a joy to see so many beautiful, natural-haired women on this site! I definitely look forward to sharing future posts with all of you. And since this is my first post, I thought it would be best to get better acquainted by sharing my hair story. So here it goes…

I got my first relaxer in kindergarten. And if I had to describe the experience, I would say it was a full on indoctrination. I didn’t know why it was being done- but I was told that the process was making my hair “more manageable.” Every 6-8 weeks of new growth was instantly met with relaxer. That was the protocol. And that’s the way things continued until I later became fully conscious of the constant conundrum of wanting to look good (as most budding young women do), but being in a constant state of hair vigilance. Sweat, water, wind (actually all the elements) were my biggest hair adversaries, and I did everything possible to avoid them- even to the detriment of my own enjoyment.

I didn’t realize it then, but I had become a prisoner to my hair. On occasion, I would wonder what it would be like to be free of the relaxer ritual. But that wasn’t enough to ignore the social and psychological stigma of natural hair. I was very fearful. And though my chemically-processed hair was literally driving me up a wall, I still felt safer with a perm. I’m sure many of you ladies can relate.

That’s the way things continued until one hot, humid and hell-ish hair day in the summer of 2005. I was in front of the bathroom mirror desperately trying to once again make something of my chemically-damaged mess. That’s when I finally stopped cursing my hair and instead forced myself to answer a really hard question: ‘Why am I doing this to myself?’ It was a profound moment for me and after I honestly answered the question, I made the decision to go natural right then and there.

It’s so wild to now look in the mirror, style my hair, smile, and see a totally different person than who existed almost 6 years ago. Since going natural, even a ‘bad hair day” is a “fab hair day.” I love my hair- kinks, curls, coils and all. And I love the feeling of freedom and inner peace that comes from finally embracing the hair that I was born to rock.

What do you think of my hair story? Was it similar to yours?

If you want to know more about our writer, Dr. Phoenyx Austin, show her some love on her Facebook fan page! In addition to being a natural hair enthusiast, Dr. Phoenyx is a physician, writer, & media personality. And she loves empowering women by providing witty, thought-provoking commentary and advice on love, relationships and sex.


  • Tri says:

    I felt exactly the same way…I had been relaxing my hair for over 19 years and I said no more. I've not relaxed my hair since November of last year and I haven't looked back. I feel empowered and so excited about the transformation that has occurred within me. These six months have been wonderful and I'm so looking forward to the rest of my journey!! 🙂

  • Anonymous says:

    what a Gorgeous sister?!?!

  • Ruby Danielle says:

    Thank U for this article…my twenty year old daughter is reading this AND learning to love her whole self: she is going natural next wk after 8 months without a relaxer!!!! I had been begging her for years and apologizing for ever putting a perm in her hair…I, too, still am carrying and trying to put down my emotional baggage about my hair…SO AGAIN THANK YOU AGAIN FOR OFFERING EMOTIONAL AWARENESS, ACCEPTANCE, HEALING AND HOPE…by sharing articles AND necessarily photos!!!!!

  • Ashley says:

    She looks sooooo much like you Nikki 🙂

  • Anonymous says:

    Nikki, off topic. Is there a way you flag or distinguish between generic stock or clip art of naturals from art/photo of the actual column/question author? Sometimes it's obvious here and sometimes it's not. Sometimes the clip art source is credited and sometimes it's not. In the uncredited shots I often myself wondering if the person in the photo asked the question or wrote the column/essay or piece. In this case I clicked over to the facebook page listed and saw the same photo so I'm assuming that's actually the author of the piece in the photo. Thanks!:-)

  • Anonymous says:

    Oh yeah….. definitely looked in the mirror and asked " Why am I doing this to myself". Lokking forward to future posts 🙂

  • Anonymous says:

    such a beautiful woman! 🙂

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