{December 29, 2011}   How can I go natural after being relaxed all my life?

I was 9 years old when my mother and my grandmother decided to give me my very first relaxer. Like most relaxers for young girls I’m sure it was very pretty at first but after time went by my hair started to break. I went from having a thick head of hair to straggly thinning ends. See we don’t really know any better as a people if you think about it. We only do as were taught, and I’m sure my mothers mother relaxed her hair about the same age and my grandmothers mom probably did the same to her. But when we know better we do better and it’s time for change and for the word to get out about the damage and the effects relaxers can have on our beautiful God-given hair.

I was 31 when I decided to get my last relaxer. It was a huge decision for me because all my life I have pretty much been known for my healthy long hair. Mind you I did get through the straggly stages of being a 9-year-old who had no clue of taking care of her hair, but as I got older I was very careful with my hair and relaxed only every 3 months which amounts to about 4 or maybe 5 times a year. This most likely is the reason my hair was able to grow so nicely.

For years I did research and read plenty of books on natural men and women. I thought about dreads and I still do but at this time I am happy with being curly lol. You tube became popular and I started watching a lot of you tube videos on women who have gone natural, and I felt like I was sitting in the sidelines wishing I had the confidence to be a part of this extraordinary community of women.  Sometimes my heart would do leaps when I would watch some of the videos because I would want to be natural so bad.  It was almost like a secret I kept to myself and yearned to have because who would ever believe much less imagine me with big bushy hair, it just wasn’t something people saw me as. Sadly I was suffocating my true self who I really knew I was on the inside. I was trapped in a shell of what I felt society wanted out of me while the true me cried quietly within.

If this is you, someone who is fighting with yourself, fighting with the person you know you really are just to please society look in the mirror and accept you for you. You have to be able to love yourself without the extra. It’s imperative that you find that love for that person crying within and embrace her fully before you start on this journey. It’s not just a physical change it’s also a mental change. Most of us know nothing but straight hair through chemical treatments. It’s the only way we know how to view ourselves, so if you are not mentally prepared to accept the person looking back at you after your big chop or you’re transitioning period, then you WILL fall of quicker than you even got on. You need to know, especially if you decide to do a big chop over transitioning that you will have a TWA (teeny weenie afro) for quite some time. So you need to be confident that you will find beauty beyond your hair. You need to be confident that there is so much more to love about yourself now that you don’t have that hair blocking your true beauty. Look at your eyes, your lips your cheekbones. Find something each day about you and look in the mirror and tell that woman looking back at you what you like about her.

There is an old sayings that a woman’s hair is her glory and I actually lived with that mentality for years. I would hide behind my hair every chance I had and hope no one truly saw my face. Lots of people always told me how pretty I was but in my heart I knew it was only because they really could not see me and I was very much okay with that. For years people would compliment my hair first before anything else about me, and now it’s almost funny to watch people search me and truly get to know me to really find something nice to say about me besides what they have always used.

I feel very blessed that I did not wait any longer than 31 to have this aha moment or realization that my hair does not make me. I truly had to perform therapy on myself sometimes privately through many ups and downs of why I was doing this. I am at such a happy place now that I want so badly to share it with you. I know you are searching like I was and scared because this is big. People may look at you strange and let me be honest with you they will IF you allow them too. When you have true confidence that comes from within, from your soul, but most important from God because you are his child and nothing else matters because he says you are beautiful so therefor you ARE. You will step out of your house with your head high and your heart humbled.

The big chop I must say is scary. After my big chop (well the second one) I cried through the whole thing. I watched in the mirror in fear that people would really see me now. I could no longer hide anywhere. I remember my words to my friend “Oh dear I look like a boy now” and that’s where my personal therapy began. After hearing myself say that out loud I realized I don’t think I ever truly liked who I was and I really needed some personal work. It took time and lot’s of tears but I got through it. It’s an everyday struggle. As crazy as I made my big chop seem it was also very calming and therapeutic. It’s almost like everything around you goes silent. You realize your life is about to completely change (for the best) and you will now be heading on your personal natural hair journey. May God bless you as you take this path and may you find something very very special within yourself that honestly was there all along. Good Luck 🙂



Bibi says:

It’s just an amazing time in ones life when one can truly take a step regardless of what others may say. Growing up, silky long hair was what was considered cool and normal. If your hair did not lay a certain way, you had what they called “Bad hair” really!! I decided to go natural my self at the age of 31. I did not have to do the big chop, because I was wearing a short cut. As my hair grew out I made the decision of terminating the whole perming process and it was the best move I’ve made. As you get older you start to realize the things that are Important to you and how I saw my self was most important to me. Going natural for me was a way for me to see me the way I wanted to see me verses what I believe society expected. Now that I am a mommy, I am teaching my daughter that her big hair is naturally beautiful.

Well said Bibi!
Teaching our children at a young age that they are beautiful the way they were made is very important. Keep up the good work. I’m also interested in knowing what products you use on your children? Thank you..


Le'Naya says:

love it . . .

Thank you. I’m hoping I was able to be helpful to you 🙂

Shahidah says:

I am so happy with my hair since I decided not to relax my hair. I did the bc a year and a half ago and geesh what a difference. I really wish I had kept a diary of it with pictures because it literally I feel like I went from broken, scraggly, unhealthy hair to the great hair I have now even though it was over a year. I do find myself wanting to preach about keeping the relaxer out of our hair but I know that is not good. I go back in forth btw flat ironing and wearing it in a natural state. I’m hoping to have a Big Afro by this summer so I’m going to keep the heat out for awhile 🙂

I think that keeping the heat out of your hair for a while is a wonderful choice. You may also notice how your curl pattern shows even stronger now. As for your hair journey diary, it’s never to late to start one. I suggest you take what few photos you can find of yourself from your bc to now and start taking some new fabulous ones. Please send me a few I would love to see your progress. Keep on conditioning and treating your hair with love and that big afro will be here in no time. Talk to you soon and God Bless!

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