I started my transition on September 19, 2012. I made this personal decision because I got tired of living up to other people's standards, and wanted to be proud of what God gave me. I used to flat iron my hair because I felt that I looked better with my hair straightened. The guys I used to deal with in my past would tell me to straighten my hair, and as much as I hated the 4 hour process, (wash, blow dry, press and flat iron) I still did it to please them :-/ I was so ashamed of my hair.
When I first started getting my hair straightened on a regular I was 13 years old. It all started when I was at my Granny's house after school one day, I had my hair in straight-back french braids (cornrows) and some cousins and I were all sitting on the porch. My aunt, who was a professional hair stylist asked, "Livey, do you want your hair flat ironed?" I thought about it for a second, remembering what my mom used to tell me: "If you straighten your hair you're gonna mess it up." but I brushed it off. My aunt washed, blow dried and flat ironed my hair. I LOVED it. After that, I got my hair straightened by my aunt every two weeks, and that lasted for 3 years.
When I turned 16 I bought a flat iron of my own and started doing my hair myself. I remember speaking with one of my teachers, and her telling me when she went off to college she didn't know how to straighten her hair because she was so used to going to the shop. So, I told myself that I would learn how to do my own hair. (Not realizing that I couldn't tame my own natural texture, and should have learned how to do that first). I was not used to the process when I first started straightening my hair, it literally took me 8 hours because I didn't know what I was doing and it was super thick. I ended up getting better and the 8 hours eventually turned into 4. Two hours for washing, conditioning, detangling and blow drying, an hour for pressing my roots and another hour for flat-ironing it bone straight.
When I went off to college I still did my own hair, and was used to it by then. I straightened it every two weeks and sometimes every week. This lasted my entire school career except the last few months, and I only got it professionally done one time while I was in school. I did not know the damage I was causing my hair. I was ignorant to heat damage, breakage, and all of the other things that come with straightening it, and not once did I give my hair a break from heat. Without my knowledge, my curl pattern slowly disappeared. I was so ignorant I thought my texture naturally changed to straight as I became older.
In 2010 I tried bantu knotting my hair (on damaged hair of course), my friend recommended that I try it. She knotted my hair up and I loved the way it turned out, I wasn't used to it though, it was a big change. My boyfriend at the time hated it, so I would only wear it a few days then straighten my hair again. At this time I considered going natural, but I was talked out of it.
In the summer of 2012 I decided to keep heat out of my hair because it was too hot to keep up with it, then in September of 2012 I ran across a video on Youtube by HairCrush, and she inspired me so much. Then I looked up related videos and found Naptural85's Youtube channel... every video I viewed the women had beautiful, thick, full, long healthy hair.. My hair looked NOTHING like that. It was long, but after learning what heat damage was I figured my hair was severely damaged. That day I made up my mind, I was going to go natural.
When I told my family they laughed and didn't take me seriously, but a month later they realized I wasn't playing any games. I received some negativity from certain people, they would tell me to "do something with my hair" or ask, "when are you going to do your hair?" Normally this would have bothered me, but I stuck with my decision and was determined to get my hair back to good health. 1 year and 7 months later I am still going strong!
|July 2012, Last picture I took of my hair straightened.|
September 19, 2012 The first day of transitioning. Freshly washed hair.
|October 2012, transitioning.|
|November 2012, freshly washed.|
|November 2012, curl pattern coming in at the roots.|
|December 8, 2012 my first minichop. I cut about 5 inches.|
We need to appreciate our beauty. We were crafted beautifully. God makes no mistakes! Try seeing yourself through His eyes. Why are you ashamed of your hair? I'll tell you why I was, it is not 'pretty' in society's eyes or wasn't to my past boyfriends. I let others define my worth. If that man can't appreciate your true beauty and accept you for you, it is time to re-evaluate. Never let society or some boy tell you what you are worth. Think about it, if we saw more fros on television and on magazines deemed beautiful, would we be ashamed then? We have been brainwashed into thinking that natural hair is undesirable and not exotic. Well let me tell you, I have NEVER in my entire life received so many positive comments about my hair, and that is from all races. People tell me all the time, "I wish I had your hair", "I wish my hair could do that." Your hair is so versatile! If you made the decision to return natural don't let anyone talk you out of it. It's YOUR head, period!
God makes no mistakes! If your hair was meant to be straight, curly, kinky whatever, it WOULD be. I'm not saying never straighten your hair, what I'm saying is you shouldn't be straightening it just because some boy told you your natural hair was not cute, or because society tells you it is ugly. Appreciate what God has given you. Ladies the journey is worth it! Not only for healthy hair, but I gained so much. Once I went natural I felt so liberated and confident. I felt new. I no longer had to worry about getting my hair wet, or worry about what others said about me. Who cares? Now when people stare I feel great, I no longer think "What are they thinking, I hope they aren't laughing at me." I smile, because now when I say I love myself I truly mean it. I love ALL of me.
Stay encouraged, and don't let anyone talk you out of your choice to take this journey, you will be glad you stuck it out trust me :-)
You are beautiful.