This time last year, I was sat in front of the TV with a fresh pack of yaky, throwing instructions at Mamma Jay when she asked ‘how many tracks do you want in the back?’ I remember the first time like it was yesterday. It was the day of my prom, and I had just arrived back home after spending hours at the nail shop. That was the fateful day that opened my eyes to a new idea of beauty, and slowly but surely – it sucked me in.
It’s hard to believe what a difference four years can make. For one thing, I cannot stand having fake nail extensions or hair extensions anymore. There is something about nail extensions that make my hands feel weird. Then there are the hair extensions. The flame I once carried for them has become a memory. Even now that I have started transitioning, I have contemplated protective styles such as kinky twists, or the braids I had in the first couple of months, but they just don’t appeal to me anymore.
Now I’m not making any sort of generalisation, but I believe that for me personally, I was hiding behind these extensions of beauty to inject some sort of false confidence. If I convinced myself enough that it was the truth, then everything would be fan-tabby-hooby. Wrong! I was kidding myself – ignoring a problem does not make it disappear. I have learned that the hard way, and four years later I have to go right back to the start and deal with something that surfaced a long time ago. Believe me, it’s everything BUT easy.
Yesterday I made a hair faux pas, and I am currently sat here with a towel around my head, after washing away my mistake. As I type this, I realise that the ‘me’ back then would have put it off and wallowed in self-pity. Today however, I have dealt with the problem straight away and feel better for doing so. It may be the smallest thing, but it indicates a lot for me and I see how much transitioning has aided me in conquering my insecurities. It has helped me develop a tougher skin, as we all know that society still has a long way to go when it comes to natural hair, and it has allowed me to get to know myself all over again.
I guess my final thought is this: a life of avoidance will catch up with you in the long run. No matter how many layers of foundation or hours at the hair salon you rely on – the issue will still be there. It may seem hard to deal with now, but it will get ten times harder the longer you brush it off.
Do you wish you had made your journey to natural sooner?
i so glad i made the decision to transition and this article is right i can hide behind my hair any more thanks for the inspiration:)
I am soooo glad I made my transition to natural hair 12 years ago, I don't know exactly what to do now to truly celebrate that move back then. Maybe nothing is needed except to never ever take my hair back to an altered-texture state. I recently big chopped so that I can truly see what the application of all that I have recently learned about natural hair care from vloggers/bloggers whom I only discovered this year, can truly do for my hair. Now I just need stable employment so that I can make sure I have the few things that I will need for my simple regimen on hand at all times, consistently. Peace.
I applaud you for stepping out and working on embracing all of who you are. It is not easy. I really liked this statement "No matter how many layers of foundation or hours at the hair salon you rely on – the issue will still be there. It may seem hard to deal with now, but it will get ten times harder the longer you brush it off." I'm just getting to the point where I'm willing to go out without make up on and it is challenging. It is so important that we don't put undue pressure on ourselves to look the way we think others expect us to look. We are our own worst critics and the sooner we overcome our insecurities, to sooner we can be comfortable in our own skin (sans foundation, concealer and eyebrow pencil).
Yes I do. I think my hair would be much healthier now.
i certainly wish i had gone natural sooner, but i agree with a previous poster – i would not have had a CLUE of what to do with my hair until i read Teri LeFlesh's book – and they did not have this information when i was young. My hair is soooooo much better now, and as a reminder i just look at the relaxed ends hanging on the bottom of my nice hair (transitioning!!!)
I certainly wish that I had started on my journey earlier. I had thought about it, but I didn't "decide" to do it until the hair on the top of my head and my edges started to thin. At this point, I love my hair! I love the kinkiness of it, figuring our what works for it and the fact that it is healthy.
Hey Ladies =)
I definitely hear what some of you are saying about not having the strength or knowledge to go natural back then, and believe that those are the key reasons why I waited so long to get to this point. For me, it's when I look at photo's pre-relaxer that make me say 'why oh why did I do that?'
@Anonymous 11.43 yes I am from the UK but studying in the Netherlands at the moment!
Yes I wish I made the choice sooner, but I made the decision at the point in my life when I needed it. I started my journey at a time I was emotionally shaken to the core. I took a hard look at myself in the mirror and decided that the real me was what I wanted to be. I never had so much fun with my hair as I have for the last 18 months. It is now a true extension of my personality.
Sorry for not getting it but what was the hair faux paus?
I wish I went natural years ago like in highschool but honestly I didn't know much about it or that it could be done! It's thanks to a friend that I was turned in the the fabulous gals on YouTube and all the different sites. And thank goodness one day fell upon CN. I just thought black girls got perms, I'm glad I know better now because I LOVE my natural hair! It's so healthy and thick. I still have a few problems like a lil breakage but it's nothing really. My hair relaxed was a HOT MESS falling out thin
Ecclesiates 3:1 states, "To every thing there is a season…"
There is a tremendous amount of knowledge available to me that I didn't have years ago.
1. Don't relax "bone straight"
2. Don't flatiron bone dry hair
3. Know when to use protein and when to use moisture
The list goes on.
Back then I looked at the girl in the adjacent salon chair and wondered, "why can't my relaxed hair look like hers?" It's the same stylist, the same products – could it be that she's on the "two week" regimen? *sighs and wipes away tear*
I didn't know about the all variables; like density, strand thickness, porosity, etc.
We have so much science available, shout-outs to all the wonderful ladies like Curly Nikki, Nicole @ HairLiberty, Tonya the Curl Chemist, and Cassidy (So Fine series)@ Natural Selection.
Like prenie at 11:47, I wasn't ready. But now I have more choices and am so grateful for it.
I don't think I was ready to handle it sooner. But I'm so glad I'm doing it now! My hair is so much thicker and I just love the bounce and body of it when I straighten it. I really feel as though this journey is worth it.
Is Bennie Blast from England?
Every now & then i say to myself "damn I wish I didn't perm my hair" but everything happens for a reason because I did it for my own good. At age 13 I didn't have the strength nor patience to manage my hair myself and my father doing my hair was a no no to me after the 2nd time he did it. So….the day me & my older sister got into an argument and she decided she was not going to comb my hair, I knew good and damn well I was not gonna let daddy embarrass me again with that beehive he put in my head, so I did the next best thing and took to a bottle of Optimum.
Even though my hair was still thick, I learned how to style my hair, which made my transitioning & newly natural period easier and more fun.
So even though I wished I didn't perm my hair, I do not regret it.
I surely do wish I would have started my journey sooner. Every time I look at a photo of myself with that fresh slicked relaxed hair, I just shake my head. I never enjoyed getting relaxers but between fear and my mother (who is a cosmetologist who believes deeply in relaxed/straight hair) I started my journey about 3 times last year and ended it just to start over again. I just celebrated a year after I started my journey. I don't regret it at all!
I actually wish I had never gotten a perm in the first place. My hair was pressed (with a hot comb) until I was about 12 yrs of age. It was longer, healthier, and stronger even though much heat was applied. Now, after being natural for almost 2 yrs, I feel FREE!!!
Most certainly yes! My hair could have been so much healthier and longer by now. My mother had my hair in a Jherri curl for years as I was growing up. Little did she know that I had my own curlies going on until I went natural. Could have saved lots of cash!