I Decided to Start Over

My hair was acting up. I had a cute little short cut with the sides shaved low but with me sweating in the summer my relaxer wasn’t lasting too long. The center of my hair started to get noticeably thinner and I was tired of my hair. I had my hair cut short since 2009 and I was getting bored. I had exhausted all the styles I could think of. I knew about alot of people transitioning and deciding to stop chemically relaxing their hair for health reasons. I figured this may be good for me because my hair is getting thinner in the center and I’m positive it is due to all the chemicals. I wanted a new look and this was one way to get it. Wearing your hair naturally the way it grows from your scalp is normal. Asians girls do it, white girls do it, Indian girls do it and Hispanic women overwhelmingly wear their hair the way it naturally grows from their head and love it. A few do get perms and keratin treatments but when they decide to wear their hair as it is it’s nothing new, it’s not shocking, its not different it’s just normal. When black girls do it, it’s met with some questioning? One of the first things said is, “You need a relaxer!” “When are you going to do your hair?”.

From the time black girls are about 9 or 10 they are waiting for their mom to give them the “ok” for their first relaxer. Sometimes it starts even younger than that. I can remember when my mom would press my hair with a hot comb for special occasions like my birthday, Easter, picture day at school, or when she was trying to stunt on other mothers and show off my “good hair”. I remember the reaction from my friends and family members when my hair was straightened. ‘Ooh, look at your hair! So pretty. Beautiful. You look so pretty.’ These are all great things that you want to hear about but why was it that when my hair was straightened I got all the compliments about how pretty I was and how nice my hair was ? Compare that to my everyday hairstyles of braids and barrettes. I did receive compliments but they weren’t as grandiose and the facial expressions and reactions weren’t the same as when my hair was straightened. I may have been young but as a kid you pick up on things. A seed was planted in my head that long straight hair was beautiful, even if it meant changing the way my hair grows out of my head. Parents and people who are around little girls be mindful of this next time a child gets a press and you can’t help but be in awe of their new beautiful style. Yes, the new hairstyle is nice and beautiful on her but be sure to tell her the same thing when her hair is braided with barrettes and beads.

Nola Darling

By the end of August 2014 I decided I would transition. Transitioning meaning hold on to the length of my hair but not get a relaxer and not straighten my roots. My roots would grow naturally and the length would remain and I would deal with two textures. I did this by putting my hair into braids. I kept my hair braided from end of August to late November. Thanksgiving weekend I decided to take my braids out. My hair had other plans. While taking my braids out there was a point where my hairs new growth (the way it naturally grows from my scalp) ended and my old permed ends remained. It was a knot that no amount of detangler or conditioner could save. I sat in my bathroom after a couple hours of struggling and grabbed the scissors and cut just above the knots. I wanted to die. I had a relaxer since I was 11. I didn’t remember my hair any other way. I didn’t recognize the person I was looking at in the mirror. I saw all the features about my face that I didn’t like even more prominently. I grabbed some lip gloss thinking maybe that could help me look more like me. Nope. Maybe I need to do my brows? Bigger earrings? That wasn’t it either. There were no other distractions around my face that could conveniently distract me from seeing me. This was my face, this is who I was and I had to accept it. I had to embrace this version of myself. I never realized how much my hair was a security blanket to me. I had to keep it real with myself and realize this is you when you keep it 100.

I washed my hair and let it air dry and to my surprise my naps were turning into curls and forming in between my straight hairs. I sat with some deep conditioner in my hair and started watching, “She’s Gotta Have It” a Spike Lee Movie. I immediately fell in love with Nola Darlings’ spirit but most importantly; the hair! She was beautiful, she was black, from Brooklyn, living her life the way she wanted to. Dating three guys openly and enjoying the great parts of all three and when there were parts that she didn’t care for her she had another one a phone call away. Nola was everything. I started to research more about my hair and what I could do to mimick this style. #taperedtwa #twa became my favorite two search terms on Instagram and I decided to do it. My good friend Angie had been natural for almost three years at that point so I reached out to her for advice and pointers and she told me I needed to cut more….”bish what? I’m already cut down low! “Trust me. Once you cut off all the permed ends, your hair is gonna grow so fast!” she said. With tons of reservation I decided to look for a stylist who specializes in natural hair. I found Maxine Green and she is heaven sent. She saw my vision and did her thing.

Big Chop March 2015

This is when I started to like my hair and adjust. All it needed was some shape, color, someone who knew how to care for natural hair and me being able to accept it. Short natural hair is alot of patience and trial and error. I wasn’t a stranger to having short hair. I had cut my hair short in 2009 and loved it. Short unrelaxed hair was a different thing. There is a quote out there that says, “A woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life.” The first time I cut my hair my life was changing and that wasn’t my choice. I had just lost a parent, I wasn’t working, and I was in the middle of a bad breakup. My hair was the healthy and long but I felt like it was covering a lot of my face. So I cut it. I cut it into a Rihanna style bob and I gradually got shorter and shorter. I loved having it short and relaxed and playing around with different colors and styles. Now that my hair is in the TWA (teeny weeny afro) stage there are plenty of mornings that I wish I still had a relaxer and I could simply unwrap my hair and go. With natural hair not every day is great and the natural hair police WILL let you know. I also notice that the approach from guys is completely different. I get more, “Hello sister!” and less “ Yo, ma!” and that is very much welcomed. It helps weed out some of the bad apples not all. There are some guys that don’t like my hair now and fine too since I didn’t cut my hair to make them happy and in the grand scheme of things do I really want to entertain a guy that is that concerned about my hair and not the other things I offer? Moving on…

Before Your Big Chop

  • Research styles you might like. Take screen shots and save it until you can decide.
  • Make the transition easier by not using a relaxer or any heat for about two months
  • Stop following @TheCutLife. Trust me. Those laid edges will keep you jealous
  • YouTube bloggers are great. I love Abi’s Hair NL, MissKenK , LisaAlaMode, and MandyOG
  • Throw away any bottles of relaxer you may have laying around the house
  • Read the labels on the hair products you are using. If it contains sulfates, parabens, and mineral oil get rid of it. Sulfates and parabens are harsh cleansers for your hair. Mineral oil clogs the pores in your scalp. I have always had really bad dandruff in the front section of my hair so Sulfur8 shampoo has always been my shampoo but I started using that only in the dandruff area and a sulfate free shampoo on my overall head. However, since being natural my dandruff is existent.
  • Invest in a wig or braids. A wig allows you the option to still have access to your hair nightly. You can wash, deep condition, and braid your hair when ever you want and simply put your wig back on. Braids for some people helps them transition easier and helps grow hair. I hate wigs on me, love it on others but it is simply not for me.