You’ve somehow been introduced to the natural hair world, whether it was through your stylist or perhaps you admired the way a close friend rocked her bold afro with such confidence; either way your curiosity was piqued. That curiosity turns into the decision to take action and so the journey begins.
Stage 1 – The Dive
You make the decision to “go natural”. You dive right in, head first, literally, with the big chop or proceed subtly by transitioning. You’re excited because it’s the beginning of something new yet apprehensive because of any preconceived notions you may have about the process.
Stage 2 – Still Unsure
If you’re transitioning, you’re dealing with multiple textures, finding the right products through process of elimination which also means elimination of lots of cash, and looking forward to the day when those relaxed ends are persona non grata! If you big chopped, in addition to similar frustrations of a transitioner, you are contending with the stark contrast from your normal look and no longer hiding behind your hair.
Stage 3 – Arrived ….ehhhh?
You’ve finally arrived, no more relaxed ends and it feels great, but now what? Your big chop has now become its goal length (whether that’s a twa or longer) but you haven’t quite discovered your mane’s true personality. There’s a whole new head of hair to get familiar and bond with and you can quickly get overwhelmed. You take to the blogs and vlogs for more information than you even know what to do with and continue the business of figuring it all out.
Stage 4 – Seasoned Vet
After some time of experimenting and self matriculating, you are that unapologetic natural girl that everyone confers with, the one to whom new naturals look to for guidance and inspiration. Have you mastered all things natural? No, there are always lessons to learn, but you’re a lot further than you were a few years ago and even more comfortable in your own skin. It’s when you learn that starting any journey can be taxing and frustrating and contained in those frustrations are possibilities of awesome results.
*Note – these are my experiences, coupled with testimonies of other naturals I have interviewed. Of course, not everyone goes through these stages in the same order and some phases may be combined and/or omitted.