Naturally Free to Be Me!
I started transitioning from relaxed tresses to natural in October 2009. After trying to hold on to the two completely different textures, I decided to do the Big Chop (b/c) Easter weekend of 2010. It was one of the best decisions I've made in years!
I was tired of the relaxer that caused my scalp to constantly flake, the accidental scab burns, and the every six to eight week touch-up. I had become addicted to the need to have my hair smooth from the roots to tip! Every month of new growth reminded me that my natural hair was simply unruly!
Back to the Beginning
I loved the smooth, silky hairstyles that would flow in the wind! I knew I could never give that up...I thought...I was older now and had been relaxing my tresses since I was 15 years old...15 years too many.
My mother began sending me to the beauty salon when I was 15 years old. At that time, I would have my hair washed, dried, and hot combed. My natural hair was below my bra strap. One day, while attending my regular visit to the salon, my beautician suggested to me that I should relax my tresses for the following reasons:
- It would save time
- It would be better for my hair
- I wouldn't have to worry about excessive heat on my hair
- I would have more styling options
It all sounded good, so I took the plunge and relaxed my hair. The change in my hair length and texture was so gradual that I didn't realize that my hair seem to now only hover just below my shoulder. My hair was constantly dry and seem to demand so much more of my time. I now realized that the only time I was saving was the beautician...this, she revealed, on one of my regular visits. She said she tired of hot combing and hot curling all that hair! Wow, I thought to myself...at that moment I know I would no longer desire use of her services much longer.
That taught me to question the motives of each successive beautician I used. Any reasonable request that I made concerning my hair that was met with unreasonable resistance became a red flag. I think one major mistake that some of us make with our beauticians is that we forget that we "hire" them for a service. A service which should be professional, timely, and done expertise. It is a bonus if you can develop a great personal relationship with them.
After five decades I saw the authentic me! My hair was wavy in the front, coily on the sides, and tightly coiled in the mid-back section. I had no idea that I would have at least three different textures on one head! Omigosh! My hair is extremely curly! and it LOVES, LOVES water! After my big chop I couldn't wait to get up in the morning, jump in the shower, and run my fingers through my hair while the water ran on my head! It was simply sheer delight!
It was as though I found a part of myself that was lost, covered, and rejected! I can't even remember if the texture was the same that I had when I was 15. Somehow, this revelation of my hair texture was spiritual and freeing. It was a reminder of how unique the Creator made me! Not only does He knows the number of strands on my head but He created the three, count them, three unique combination on my head! A new understanding of "we are fearfully and wonderfully made" openned my soul, my mind as to how much God loves me!
Even though I embraced the change of my tresses, not everyone did! LOL! My six-year old grandson simply hated it and said that I looked like a boy! My husband could not easily part with the smooth, long-haired partner that he admired. Talk about preaching to an empty church, this new me was a hard sell!
With this change I had to learn how to restyle, cope, and rediscover products that would work for my new hair! Some days I was truly frustated. What worked last month didn't seem to work this month. As my hair continued to grow, some products just made me look like I had a giant afro! My hair was so curly and resisted to being pulled back into any type of a pony tail which was always my go to style on bad hair days!
One of the major things I had to learn was that I could not treat my natural hair like my straight relaxed hair. They were two different animals:
My natural hair needed:
- Moisture, Moisture, and More Moisture
- My natural tresses needed more product than when I was relaxed
- Most times I needed at least three separate products on my hair, a combination of two leave-in conditioners and a gel!
- I would net to co-wash my hair instead of just shampooing my hair
- The size of my comb change - became larger!
- I needed a Denman brush
- I became a purveyor of headbands and hair flowers!
- I would nightly mist my hair and wear a plastic cap to bed.
- When going to bed with hair dried, I needed to twist it up and use a silk cap.
I was pleasantly surprised how fast and quickly my hair had grown since Easter. Of course, I would like it to be as long as it was when I big chopped it but I'm pleased to have healthy tresses.
I'm still amazed at my hair, the hardest thing is to keep my hands out of it! I'm constantly reaching to twirl the coils and waves. However, this can cause the hair to single-strand knot when the strand is released and snaps back into place.
My family has made adjustments to the change, my grandson still prefers the smooth-styled me! I even thought that I would put on one of my old wigs to please him! I placed the wig over my "glory" and I couldn't keep it on! I gently removed it and submitted to the natural me!
Would I do this again? In a heartbeat!...