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My Hair Transition Story

August 11, 2010

Since I have no cable, I’ve been using my computer more than ever. Lately, I’ve been addicted to scouring the internet for all my favorite natural hair care sites and watching hair tutorials on YouTube. When I say addicted it’s been kind of bad. I will literally be up til like 1:30/2am sometimes looking over sites and older posts I haven’t seen yet.

I’ve been transitioning from relaxed to natural since my last relaxer in January (9th I think?) of this year. I pretty much knew that I was going to eventually ween myself off the relaxers but just didn’t know when. When I did get relaxers (it feels so good to say did)  I wasn’t the type of girl who got one every 4-6 weeks religiously, I would stretch my relaxer out until I couldn’t stretch it no more! I can thank gel and water on the edges, bunning it up for weeks, and Dominican wash and sets for helping me go 3 months until my next touch ups.

I can probably say that by the end of February of this year, I knew that my last relaxer was going to be the one I had the month before. I started to mentally commit to the idea that I was going to go through the process and not back out this time.

Yes, I said this time.

The first time I attempted to transition was August 2006. I lasted until April 2007 until I finally succumbed to the creamy crack. For 8 months I had no idea what to do with my hair let alone properly care for it. I was a senior in college and with classes and making sure I had enough credits to graduate on time , I had no time (no patience really) to deal with the 2 textures. Looking back, it really did not make sense because in May I got a sew in weave and could have easily kept transitioning for a couple more months before making the decision to go back to the crack.

Nevertheless, at that time I came to the conclusion that natural was probably just not for me. I didn’t know what I was doing and it didn’t even cross my mind that I could go online to look at sites that catered to natural hair care. My hair was dry as hell, a tangly mess, and broke off tremendously during my 8 month transition and I would go to any lengths just to straighten the new texture growing in so it would blend in with my relaxed hair. I was frustrated to say the least.

Especially since it had never crossed my mind that I could go natural. I’ve had a relaxer since I was 7, and the only memories I had of my natural hair were the times my mom would detangle it after washing. I remember sitting on the floor in between her legs as she would attempt to pull a comb through my hair and that ish hurt like hell! I believe I was a tender headed little girl since the detangling sessions would start with me yelling “Ouch that HURTS!” and end with tears. I don’t remember my 1st relaxer, all I remember is my mom was finally able to detangle my hair without me going through dramatics and that was an accomplishment.

It's too bad I couldn't stay natural.../

My hair was always lengthy, at least 6 inches past my shoulders, until one day, when I was in 5th grade, my mom realized I had major split ends and said I would have to get them trimmed. Saying my ends were bad was putting it nicely. I remember sitting in the chair of the hairdresser as he was saying “Ooooh girl we have got to CUT your hair, these ends are broken off!”

I remember the horror on my face when he said that. Cut? I had never had my hair cut, only trimmed. I remember him asking my mom what happened, and she was explaining ” I don’t know, I think it was this product called Frizz Ease that I started using on her hair, and that probably broke it off…”

Endless clips came from the scissors and the tears rolled down my face. I remember sneaking looks at the floor and seeing how my cut hair piled up like a shag rug. It seemed like he was cutting forever and I had no clue how short my hair was going to end up or if I would still have any at all by the time he was done. 2 or 3 other hairdressers from the shop stood around my chair watching him cut (like dag didn’t they have anything better to do?) which made me feel even more self conscious…everyone could see what was going on with my hair but me and I wasn’t feeling it one bit.

“It’ll grow back, don’t worry..” they all said. But I wasn’t having it! Needless to say, I walked out the shop with my hair to my shoulders.

Of course they were right, and after a few years of ups and downs with my hair, in high school it grew back to the original length. My friends and others loved my hair and would ask me what shampoo I used and commented on how long it was getting. To me it wasn’t anything new because I had the length before.  And I styled my own hair, but was so mean to it. Using heat sparingly..Wrapping what at night? Twisties are too tight? I had no concept of how much damage I was doing to her (my hair), and she definitely had it in for me and started retaliating once I went off to college.

So fast forward to last year, I began noticing that she started acting brand new. My normally thick and nice relaxed hair just wasn’t the same as before. She was breaking off still and I had absolutely no length retention. And she felt thinner and I was literally dying inside when I realized the thickness was gone. (It sounds dramatic but I am soo serious) Her tantrums weren’t lasting days….more like months. What’s funny was that in the back of my mind I had always wondered what my hair would have been like if I had never relaxed in 07′. And because this thought plagued my mind more often than not, I knew eventually I was going to try to transition to natural again, I just didn’t know when.

So here I am 7 months into my 2nd transition, taking it day by day. It is really getting harder to maintain both relaxed and new growth textures. I am still having an internal battle in my mind about doing the big chop because I realize that my edges in the front are a completely different texture (possibly 4Cish?) than the rest of my hair (4aish?) and don’t know how it would look not only having 3.5 inches of hair, but 2 different textures I have never worked with before.

I will definitely keep you updated on my ins and outs while transitioning. I will also add some pics of my hair and styles I’m doing during this process.

Stay tuned…

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