Let me just admit that this is a scheduled post. I’ve started to see the importance of scheduling blog posts. Most times, inspiration strikes at awkward times, mostly at night before bed and I do most of my writing then. So yh, this post is scheduled for Thursday, but it’s currently Saturday morning, I’m in my bed, typing away on my phone at 1 am.
I mentioned in my post last week or so that I was going to share my hair journey/struggles/story. I also mentioned that I transitioned, meaning went from having a 100% relaxed/processed hair, to a 100% natural. It has been a serious rollercoaster ride but i feel like I’m finally at a point where I’m happy with my hair. So I wanted to share how i got to this point.
I titled this post definition because that’s a word that’s used to categorize hair, especially for people with my type of hair. Overtime, ive had my hair type change from bone straight to super curly, basically one end of the hair spectrum to the other. So yh, okay let’s go!
I have always had straight, relaxed hair. Probably since I was 5, my mom decided that she would rather save both her and myself the wahala of tugging and pulling a crying child’s natural hair. So good ol’ Dark and Lovely Kids Relaxer appeared and promised hair salvation.
I loved my relaxed hair. It was shiny, soft and easy to maintain. In between though, I did have some issues with shedding, but it was still very healthy beautiful hair. Well, except when it was ‘due‘. Meaning, new natural hair had grown in underneath the relaxed strands, and so my hair was due for ‘retouching‘. Meaning I needed to go in to relax the new growth. My mom or aunt helped me do this twice a year, or I went and got it done at a nearby salon. All was well.
However, when I got into college, I then had the responsibility of taking care of my own hair. First year was okay since i had a habit of coming to school every semester with newly relaxed hair. Second year however was different. I skipped a retouch or two and kind of figured my hair could handle it. Boy, was I wrong. I came into the semester with really due hair hidden underneath box braids. Then left those braids in for about 6-8 weeks. Now, I had really really really due hair. Yet, my extremely naive self decided that I was fully able to take out those braids myself, wash my hair myself and stroll out of the shower like a boss. Spoiler alert: i did not stroll out like a boss because it ended in tears.
Unfortunately, I did not detangle my really really really due hair after taking out my braids, and proceeded with my shoulders high into the shower to wash. My hair basically knotted once the water hit. It took all the power I had in small hands, two combs, 2 conditioners and help from a roommate to detangle those knots. I was so mad at my hair at the end (also mad at myself), that I started snipping. Cut off dead hair, split ends and anything that annoyed me on the hair. What was left was really scanty, short hair. An absolute shadow of what it was before.
It was after this that my love-hate relationship with my hair started. I first ignored it for a few days, a type of denial. But then it started to hit me. I did not have my former hair and i did not feel like myself. Sure it would grow back, but I wished I could go back in time and undo everything. I didn’t want to wait, I wanted my hair right then and there. But it did not want me. So I decided to give it time to want me back. I didnt want to retouch it just yet because my scalp was still a bit sensitive from the last wash (from overtugging mixed with tears), so I decided to have it grow out a bit. Meaning, purposefully leaving it to have new growth. This was probably one of the worst times in my hair journey. It quickly showed me that I was living in a facade all my life.
My hair was not at all soft, shiny and easy to maintain. It was stubborn and annoying. I always wanted to shove it into braids or wigs cause I hated it. The hair dressers in school complained it was hard to detangle, my roommates complained it hurt their fingers and I complained it hurt my scalp. We were arch nemeses. Like Perry and Doofenshmirtz, or Spiderman and Osborn. I viewed my hair as a separate entity from myself that refused to conform to my demands. I blasted it with heat from hand dryers, and it blasted me with dandruff from hell. We finally came to a consensus when it had grown out to a significant length and I could now retouch it. What a victory that was for me! I could finally heave a sigh of relief. Even though I had to repeat the retouching process every 6 months, it was still a win for me. All wins are wins, even small ones.
This saga dragged on until my final year of college. The last time I relaxed my hair was a week before my 19th birthday. Looking into the mirror that day, I was so happy. My hair had come back to its former state. A few inches past collar bone length. I had finally won the war and victory tasted like pure sugarcane. I recieved so many compliments and my head swelled like garri inside water. We were finally reconciled, like Jacob and Esau. No more bad blood between us, I and my hair were one.
Few months passed, life kept happening and hair kept growing. But then one day, a thought came to mind. I don’t know if it’s because of the countless hair videos I watched over the week, or just pure curiosity, but I wondered, “what if I had natural hair?” I didn’t even know how my hair would look like in its natural state but I wondered. I was a bit skeptical at first, flashing back to the battles I faced with slightly natural hair (due hair). But then I figured, those battles waxed strong because I was dealing with mixed hair. Relaxed and natural hair don’t go well together. But what if it was a 100% natural. How cool would that be?! I thought about it some more, saw how popular the natural hair trend had gotten and decided heck yeah, let’s go with it! Then I ran the idea with my mom and got hit with a big “ENU O” for no. Who in their right minds cuts all their long hair off just to go natural? It was absurd to her. In a way, my hair was her hair so it was going nowhere.
What other option did I have? Transitioning. Yuck. Even the name alone sounded gross. I had tried and barely made it alive with transitioning hair in school. Now it reared its ugly head again. I didnt have permission to big chop, so transitioning was the next best thing. So I thought about it for a long time, and I mean a loooooongggg time, and finally resolved in my heart that I could endure. It was just for a while. When the hair grew to a medium afro, I’d cut off the relaxed parts. So, this was the plan, transition for a whole year, and hopefully come out with my sanity intact at the end. Do you think I made it? We’ll have to see in the next post!
(What a cliffhanger right? Let me give a tiny spoiler. It did not end in tears, at least not all of it🤭)
Let’s be friends!