As a person of mixed race, I always looked at my white mother’s
beautiful curly hair with envy and wondered how I got stuck with
this kinky, messy, birds nest of an excuse for hair. My aunts, cousins, grandmother and even great-grandmother all had these manageable
manes that seemed to glow in my eyes. And because I didn’t have my
father or his family in my life, my gullible but well-intentioned white
family fell to the mercy and “expertise” of hair stylists. And after 17
long years of depending on relaxers, I decided to go natural.
 
Were you a long term or short term transitioner and why?
No. I did not have the luxury of transitioning. My hair was so horrendous that It was big chop or bust! I Big Chopped on December 17th, 2007.

 Why did you choose to go natural

There were a lot of reasons that I decided to go natural, but they all eventually led to and stemmed from one
traumatic event. My aunt hooked me up with a stylist in Union City, NJ.
Her name was Phyllis and her shop was typical of a black hair
salon. There was a barber named Kofi who kept everyone laughing, and
someone was always walking in and trying to sell you food or bootleg
DVDs. I went there every other Saturday to have my roots touched up and
have my hair pressed so good that people NEEDED to run their hands through
it. I went to her one weekend and she took my
halfway-to-my-bra-length-hair and cut it below my shoulders without my
permission. I should’ve ran then. But, no ladies, I didn’t and it did
not end there! I went to her still, with my mother who spent about $150
every two weeks, to finally give me the hair I always wanted. And in one
visit, Phyllis ruined my day, my year and my social life. She put a
relaxer on me that not only will I NEVER forget, but it would be the
last one I’d ever have. She applied it, like every other time, and let
it sit for the allotted time, like every other time. However, this time
it hurt. I said several times that it burned, and asked if we could take
it off. She kept saying no, no it is supposed to burn, that means it’s
working.  She rinsed me off and the water made my scalp feel like hot
lava was being poured on it. She had burned sores into my scalp. And to
put the icing on the already burned cake, she proceeded to spray said
sores with rubbing alcohol, all while insisting it would help. I cried
myself to sleep that night. The next day my head was completely crusted
over in blood. I couldn’t brush my own hair. From then on my hair
deteriorated, matted, and became completely unfixable. I was brushing my
hair for work one day and my bangs broke off at my new growth. I was
devastated. I decided then to go natural!  
 
What was your initial reaction to your natural hair
I
loved it. I loved what it meant. I felt free and real. And oh my God!
With my new hair EVERYONE thought I was a model! The attention was a
real pick-me-up from the trauma I had lived with through the last months
of high school. Not only that but I had a physical reaction to it.
After my Big Chop I left the salon and  felt the cool December breeze on
my scalp for the first time in my life. THAT is a feeling I will never
forget. I may cut all of my hair off just for that feeling again.. Naah!
How did family and friends react to the new you
My
family always pushed for me to have short hair. My aunt made it a
special day for me. I was picked up in a town car, brought to my
stylist, and we all had dinner in New York City. They ranted and raved.
They loved it. They loved my second BC more because it was more of a
style with my hightop fade.
 

 
I
loved that they supported me, and although I didn’t have their kind of
hair, I felt like I could let my figurative hair down, and stop freaking
out about why I don’t have what they have.
What was your initial routine?
In
the beginning, nothing. I was naive and didn’t put in the work to make
my hair flourish, which is why I BC’d a second time. After that, I
used only olive oil, raw shea butter, and Garnier Fructis’ sleek shine
conditioner only. I only co-wash. And MAYONNAISE treatments. Like real
mayo. Like I’m done putting this on my sandwich, now I’m gonna put it in
my hair, mayo.
 
In
the beginning I relied heavily on a headband, even though I had no hair. After a few
months my hair went through some crazy stages. And I tried to hide that
with ribbons and bobby pins.

Today my hair is flourishing. 

Anything else to add?
At the end of the day, you gotta love yourself,right? That includes your hair girls!