*Originally posted 1/23/2011 from original blog My Natural Hair Quest
Four months ago, I decided to stop relaxing my hair and go natural.
My reasons for doing this are many. I will share them with you as I embark on my ‘quest’ to achieve a full head of natural, healthy hair and to learn how best to maintain it.
I had been thinking about returning to natural hair for over a year now. When I finally decided, I was very encouraged to find a lot of support out here on the internet. Many women have gone before me and have successfully transitioned. I am proud to see how beautiful we can be with our own God-given attributes. This certainly helps to encourage others and I send many thanks to these women! I too hope to inspire, as I have been inspired.
First up is my hair-story. I am the fifth of six children, five girls, and one boy. My mom was a SAHM, but eventually had to raise us as a single mother. With having to go out and support the family, she could no longer press and curl all of our hair each week. By the time I turned 10, she gave me my first ‘kiddy kit’ relaxer. I hated how the chemicals burned my scalp so badly each time, even without any pre-scratching. Oh well, I suppose it got the job done. Looking back, I guess I cannot blame her. I now have four heads of hair to keep up with, including my own. I know exactly how she felt.
By the time I was 12, I wanted a Jheri curl so badly. Now, don’t even trip! Yall know it was all the rage back then! My hair had always been long and I knew I had to sacrifice my length to get a ‘curl’, so that is what I did. My first BC! All I remember from that experience was an initial sadness at losing my length. Then there was a great exhilaration because I actually ended up LOVING it short! By the time I got my first Jheri curl retouch three months later, I was sad again. My hair had grown so much that I had lost my short ‘do. It was an emotional roller coaster. A few years later, in high school, I eventually returned to the relaxer.
I have since sported a relaxer for almost thirty years, and have been able to achieve length and healthy hair (so I thoughtJ) during this time. I taught myself how to do just about anything to my hair that a stylist could. I have always maintained a longer length, even though I cut several inches off over the last year. This was not due to breakage; I would just get an itch to do something different. Now, I did experience some hair loss around my hairline post-partum times four. Throughout this time, interestingly, I continued to relax my hair without missing a beat.
Sixteen months ago after delivering my fourth child, the hair loss at my hairline was much worse than the previous three times. I was finally fed up. The more I thought about it the more it made sense to make a change. I thought about how I preferred wearing my hair full and curled most of the time to bone straight hair anyway. I hated the constant burning to my scalp from the chemicals; I always had. I accepted a dry & flaky scalp as the norm (by-product of chemical relaxers). No matter how often I shampooed or what products I used, I just could not get rid of it. I woke up one day and asked myself who was making me continue down that road? As an adult, I could make excuses or make a change. Here I am now.
Four months out from my last relaxer, I am in a full transition to natural hair. I am changing my thoughts and expectations while searching for answers to sustain my choice. I am not quite ready for the BC just yet. I will post pictures and maybe a video to share with you soon. Wish me luck!