June 15, 2013
Hhhhhmmm…I don’t quite know where to start! I guess I will just start from the beginning.
Well, I remember when I was a kid, every week I went to my grandmother’s house for her to straighten my hair. I remember crying “You’re burning me!” and her replying “That’s just the grease,” as the hot, melting grease burned my scalp. I also remember thinking, I don’t care if it is the grease, it hurts (although I wasn’t crazy enough to say this out loud, of course. LOL)
I can’t remember exactly how old I was when I got my hair permed/relaxed for the first time. I think I was in the 6th grade or somewhere around there. I remember the perm/relaxer burning just as bad, if not worse than the grease from the straightening comb. I remember having sores on my scalp from the lye that was in the first perms I got. I also remember having sores from perms that were lye-free. But I was fly! That was all that mattered. I didn’t have to worry about my frizzy, puffy hair shriveling up if it rained or my friends and I went swimming. Heck, I could even deal with the sores being that I didn’t have to get my hair pressed every week.
As I got older, I never questioned why I kept running to the salon every other month for touch ups and when I couldn’t budget it in, why I would risk my hair falling out perming it at home myself – which I did quite frequently. It even got to the point that I wouldn’t go to the salon to get my hair permed, I’d do it myself and go to the salon to get it cut in order to save some money. In between salon visits, I would flat iron it myself. I was willing to accept the few burns I got on my ears, neck, and a couple of time close to my eye when I dropped the daggone thing. My attempts at upkeep ultimately led to my hair breaking off really badly at the top one time. But that didn’t stop me. When I think about that foolery now, I have to wonder what in the heck was wrong with me? Why was I continuously fighting this battle? But when I think back to my relaxed days, overall my hair was healthy and it grew. It didn’t grow to exorbitant lengths, but it grew, normally a bit past my shoulders.
In 2005, I did my first BC or big chop. Then again in 2008. I can’t say that I was really natural because I put a texturizer in it both times. I wore it this way for about a year each time and loved my wavy TWA! Once it grew back out, I relaxed it again! I really don’t know why. At the time I was never considering going “natural.” I just wanted a different look.
So that brings me to the present. My last relaxer was somewhere around January 2012. I did my 3rd BC on March 4, 2012. Again, I applied a texturizer to it. And again, it wasn’t my intention to go “natural.” As with the previous times before, I just wanted something different and I remembered loving my TWA the first time. I did this for 6 months and in Sept. 2012 I got kinky twist put in. I wore the kinky twist for 9 months. I took them out 2 weeks ago today. After washing and conditioning my hair, I was surprised at how soft it was with no perm in it. It was still bushy and kinky, and I was still looking like Bushwick Bill by the head, but my hair felt very healthy. It was at this moment that I decided that I wanted to be a naturalista. I no longer wanted to deal with the rigmarole of having permed hair. I wanted to be natural. I’d seen so many women rocking natural hair-do’s and I wanted to join their masses.
But wouldn’t you know, I had to mess up a good thing. Being the amateur that I am at this natural lifestyle, I had no idea what I needed to do to manage it. I made several attempts to tame this mane into some type of style. It wasn’t having it. So I decided to pull out my trusty flat irons to “straighten” it!!! The results were gorgeous! That is for that night. I went through my old “perm routine”, I brushed it, wrapped it, and tied it down with my satin scarf. I awoke the next morning to a bushy mess because it was warm and my head had sweated overnight. I was having lunch with a friend that afternoon, so I flat ironed it again. My friend and I headed out to lunch and as we are out, I can feel my hair turning on me. I could feel it starting to get puffy. I kept trying to lay it down with my hands, which was fruitless!! When I get home, I’m horrified at what my head looks like!!! Not quite Bushwick Bill this time, but straight it definitely was not. In my frustration, I grabbed my brush, hair lotion (the same lotion that I used to flat iron it before and that I now know contains a humectant that I definitely did not need in my hair in hot, humid Texas weather), and flat iron, hell-bent on making my hair do exactly what I wanted it to do, which was to stop being a puffy mess! Needless to say, I lost this battle AGAIN!!!
Sulking in defeat, and with hair that was now so soft and pretty a day before but was probably damaged now, I took to the internet to do some research. In the last few days I have learned SOOOO much about my hair – it’s various textures that appears to range somewhere between 4A-C with a coily pattern, it’s med/high porosity with with high density! I almost feel like a pro being that I can even use some of the lingo correctly now! LOL
So, having bone straight hair has been the norm for me all of my life. It was all I ever knew (well outside of the little time I went through the Jheri Curl stage). So embracing my natural hair was a struggle at first. I didn’t love my hair. I was embarrassed if anyone saw me with my hair in it’s natural state. No one ever taught me to love my naturally curly, kinky hair. But now, I’m in love with it, even though I still don’t really know what I’m doing yet! But I’m determined to learn.
So here, starts my journey…