I started getting chemical relaxers when I was a small child. My mother would relax my hair a few times a year. Once I became a teenager, I learned how to apply the "creamy crack" on my own. I was so used to it by this time. I would retouch the roots every 6 weeks to 2 months. Yes, it was excessive but this was all I knew about hair. I considered my hair still natural because I didn't wear a weave most of the time. I tried extension braids a couple of times as well as ponytail weaves. I even tried drawstring wigs when I was a young adult. But the majority of my life, I wore my real hair but in a permanent straight look.
In my early 20's, I had awakened to my heritage and culture. I still had a relaxer in my hair. I did not see the need to change that. I felt like what did this have to do with walking in Truth. I felt like it has nothing to do with salvation. Which it doesn't physically but these are just the thoughts I had about not needing to go natural.
One day, I was laying down just thinking about a statement that was made about not embracing natural hair. In one of my bible studies, a brother stated that when you don't wear our natural hair we are basically saying we hate the way the Creator (Yah) made us. We are murdering our hair when we chemically straighten it. I couldn't get these words out of my head. I kept contemplating to stop relaxing my long luxurious hair. I had just grown it back out down my back again after cutting it some months ago.
I was laying on my futon crying. I was so scared to let my hair grow out naturally. I didn't even know what it looked like. I couldn't imagine that I I could look or feel great with my kinky hair. I believed it wouldn't even grow without a relaxer. The relaxer was my self-esteem in a box. Once I stopped sobbing like a baby over my hair, I made the decision to start transitioning my hair to a natural state. I wasn't comfortable just snipping off my tresses and wear an extremely short look. I let my hair grow out until I was okay with the amount of natural new growth that came out of my scalp. I was nervous but I was ready to make a physical change from something I was so attached to.
A couple of months had gone by, and I already had plenty of natural hair that grew out. For awhile I braided my hair at night, then carefully took out the braids in the morning. This gave my hair a braid outlook and helped my new growth blend in with the straightened hair. It was the end of summer and fall had not quite started yet. I happily went ahead and cut off all of my straight hair. I felt excited to finally let that dead hair and go and love my new image. I wore my hair in an afro puff mist of the time. I would wash it with black soap then moisturize it with olive oil or grapeseed oil. I was very basic with my hair routine. It seemed easier to handle than with all those hair products I used to use to keep my hair maintained. I marveled at my tight curls I didn't know I had. My hair was so thick. This was the new me and it complimented who I was on the inside. I felt free. I felt vibrant.
As my hair gained more length over time, I started experimenting with different hairstyles. I wore a puff, braid-outs, wash and gos, blowouts, and once in a while flat ironed. I was always amazed at how much my hair grew when I flat ironed my hair. Natural kinky, curly hair can shrink a lot so this was a way for me to see its length and cut my split ends. I even tried locs a couple of times but they were short journeys. The experiences were interesting though. I'll talk more about the loc journeys in the future.
Today, I am 11 years natural. I didn't even realize how time has when by since I had a relaxer. I still love being without the "creamy crack". I currently wear my hair in either wash and gos with water and grease or flat ironed. I love my blowouts as well. I realized over time, that even though it's great to embrace your natural hair, the inside of a person is still way more important. This was my personal journey and is something that is for me. Whichever way you wear your hair, be beautiful on the inside.
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