War and Peace: A Hair Story

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 CurlyNikki.com! 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.