In February 2008 I caved in and got my big chop. After years of damage and abuse to my hair and scalp with chemical relaxers I decided enough is enough! I surrendered to the breakage by finally listening to what my hair was telling me – “just leave the relaxers alone!”
My hair looked great on the outside, but on the inside my edges and ESPECIALLY the nape of my neck were suffering, TERRIBLY. It’s amazing how insecure you can feel when your hair is severely damaged. Feeling tired of the various hair growth oils, deep conditioners and other remedies that were supposed to bring my poor hair “back to life,” I eliminated the root of the problem. I was waaaay to chicken to start from scratch so I transitioned for 9 months until I was confident enough to just do it! I stepped in my bathroom, took to my shears, and piece by piece cut off the last of straight ends. Bye-bye perm.
Around the time I made this decision natural hair wasn’t popular at all. It was the “long hair don’t care era” — you know, when even male artists like Snoop Dogg and R&B Singer Lloyd were rocking wash and sets and dubee’s better than the ladies. I was terrified that I wouldn’t be attractive anymore. That I’d never find a date, or fit in at work. The list of fears was never-ending.
At the time, I was living in Chicago where luckily there was a natural hair movement going on. Thank God for that support system! It took 2 years for me to feel like I finally had a handle on things. There were many bad hair days, failed twist outs, disappointments at the salon and battles with humidity that made it very difficult to embrace the process. However, even my worst hair days were better than going back to that breakage.
It hasn’t been all gravy since then. Just because your hair is natural doesn’t mean it’s automatically healthy and thriving. It comes with it’s own set of rules. But even at it’s worst, my hair is much healthier natural than relaxed. I believe it suits me better too.
Here are some photos from the beginnings of my journey: