My Natural Hair Journey and Then Some
I was inspired to cut my relaxed hair and start afresh with my natural hair in 2009. At the time, I was reading one of the books in The Nappily Series by Trisha R. Thomas. She's a great author. I felt like the main character Venus Johnston was like me. A complex woman, trying to make it in the world. She felt heartache and pain, she was articulate, smart, successful and vulnerable. Just like me. So like Venus I began to question why I processed my hair. I realized that I relaxed my hair because I was conditioned to. Like clockwork, every four to six weeks I was in the stylist chair or if I was fortunate my pockets could rest and I'd have a friend or family member apply the relaxer.
I'd feel great after it was applied. My mane shined, had body and volume. But when I moved to Las Vegas in 2009 the texture changed. It was limp and lifeless. Even cutting it didn't restore the thickness I was used to. The state of my tresses and the inspiration I received from reading prompted me to make a decision. I decided in 2009 that that would be the year of my last relaxer. I transitioned for a few months. Then, I cut off approximately five-six inches of relaxed ends off. I was left with two inches of new growth. I was scared and proud all at once. I felt awkward. I didn't know how to style my hair. I couldn't wear big earrings because it would be out of regulation while in uniform. I remember getting a few weird stares and that made me feel as if I should hide in a corner. I then put protective styles in my hair such as two-strand twists, braids and even a weave so that my hair could grow out.
In 2011, after I gave birth to my daughter, my hair was long enough where I could wear it in a puff on top of my head. I was ecstatic. I could style it in more than one style. I no longer felt awkward. However, I still hadn't learned how to efficiently care for my thick and tightly coiled hair. It wasn't until 2013 that I really took the time to properly moisturize and condition my hair. I watch YouTube tutorials to learn about religion, fashion, make-up and how to manage natural hair. Four years prior when I watched natural hair tutorials, I didn't see content creators that had my type of hair. My hair didn't just curl up and hang loosely after I washed it. It shrunk, it could be rough to touch and it seemed like it didn't grow.
Watching the channels of 4cHairChick, Jouelzy, BlakIzBeautyful, For Us Naturals and Naptural85 helped me to realize that my hair is beautiful because its thick, its versatile and its mine. Sure, I had days where I wished my curl pattern was different. I even purchased certain products that promised to "loosen my curl." Now that I'm a few years into my natural hair journey, I appreciate my hair and myself even more. I accept my hair, personality, accomplishments and faults. I wouldn't have it any other way.
What are some challenges you may have had during your natural hair journey? What are some frustrations that you may have about your hair type? Any suggestions? Please list them in the comments!
Remember, keep it cute and classy!
Salaam and Peace!
Farida T. Dawkins
U.S. Air Force Reservist and Blogger