Thursday, October 8, 2015

A Short on Dealing with Breakage

My natural journey spans a fifteen year process with the later half of thirteen years being fully natural.  I have done just about everything you can imagine to my hair and for the most part it has withstood the tests.  And yes, in this more than a decade of returning to natural hair I have experienced breakage.

One thing my hair just could not take was a "temporary" blow dry straightener (that is a later discussion) bleach, color, and heat in combination.  Over time my low porosity, dense, and thick hair simply broke under the weight of it.  I had good habits with the exception of blow drying my hair every wash, but still my hair broke off.  So my journey to health natural hair began in 2011.  I am now four years into my natural hair journey and I am enjoying it.  

I had to take an inventory along these four years of what habits caused the ripe conditions for my long hair to break off.  First, I cut all of the obvious breakage off, simple!  My hair was bra strap length at the time, so I cut off about four inches.  Next, I dealt with the rest of the damage.  I nursed my hair with deep conditioners and protective styles.  I also went through some weird phases like completely shaving a four inch section on the right front side of my hair two years ago.  The rest of the time was rather uneventful.  Three years later (2014), I decided to go on a journey to long hair.

Once again in my four year mark I am dealing with damage again.  My damage this time came from choosing to use the wrong kind of synthetic hair for my twists.  However, this time is different.  I went through the trauma of damaging perfectly long hair after several years of being natural!  Now I know to pace myself and their is no need for me to chop off large sections of my hair.  The short of it is that I just need patience and this too shall pass.  I still will reach my length goals!

Peace ladies!

Monday, September 7, 2015

Wear Your Hair!

I had not noticed that I had been accustomed to wearing protective styles so often that I had stopped wearing my hair out.  Am I embarrassed of my hair I thought?  How could I so easily tell another young girl to wear her natural hair out and I hadn't worn my hair out in months?  In fact, many people thought that faithful wig of mine was my real hair.  I was living a lie and not knowing it.  So this year starting in September of 2014 I decided to wear my hair out more.

It was a little hard at first because I had grown accustomed to just cornrowing my hair and throwing the wig on it.  I had also grown accustomed to styling my braids or two strand twists with weave for added length and longevity.  I had to re-learn styling my hair.  I didn't however have to re-learn how to take care of my hair.  Luckily I had embarked on a new journey to finally grow my hair long and kick habits from my perm days (long over due), which made my battle easier.  The hardest part was that my hair was in the darn mid-length stage and it made it very frustrating.

So I had to make a concerted effort to choose my hair over and over again.  I was hard in the fact that when I first went natural I did use weave to get me through the mid-length stage that I had just went back to because of color and bleach damage.  However, I am and was armed with the fact that I have made it through the mid-length stage before.  I know that it really is a matter of months before it goes away, but feels like eternity!  I had to keep choosing my hair over and over again!  So, I did the same styles like double strand twists, but with my own hair and the good ole tuck and roll.  I did falter once in July and use weave for double strand twists because I was desperately tired in the morning and wanted the extra snooze.  After taking those out in August I soon regretted it because I had a few mid-shaft breaks even though I had gained some inches.  I rebooted and now I style with my hair alone.  I wanted to go back to what I was doing as a young girl and teen enjoying my hair!

One year later September 2015, I am wearing my hair through thick and thin.  I pledge to do this until I reach my hair goal of all my hair being bra strap length.  Of course, I have a longer goal, but I wanted to re-dedicate myself to accepting my hair that G-d gave me!


Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Starting a New Journey

I decided last year to stop using combs to comb my hair and in that I decided to also grow my hair long once and for all.  This month I start a new, or, at least, I feel brand new.  It has been nine months and I am starting to see the payoffs.

My hair looks healthier and IS longer.  This time, around I am not chopping it off subconsciously because this is what I was taught to do, but I am methodically on a limit trimming my hair.  I am starting a new way of thinking and it is paying off.  I hope you join me in this new training.

Finger detangling has been a little more difficult in that I have been struggling to just finger detangle.  I confess I have used a comb, a wide tooth comb nonetheless.  I forgive myself in that I am still learning a good technique.

This post is short and sweet and there is more to come!

Peace ladies!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Missing the TWA!

I miss the days of my teeny weeny afro sometimes when I look at the lovely ladies who have just big chopped.  Sometimes I think I did not bask in the glow of my big chop like I should.  I wish I wasn't so busy with college at times where I just ignored thinking about what styles to do, or my hair altogether.  I also let my natural friends and friends sometimes dictate what I did to my hair.  Ultimately, I think I miss the liberation I felt when I first cut off all of that long permed hair.

If I had to do it all over again, then I would have set a date to big chop and plan a regime.  I would have studied the natural hair sites at the time and sat down with my natural hair friends for tips.  I also would have learned how to African thread properly before I big chopped too.  Instead, my big chop was a rush of emotions and as a result of a weave gone wrong that gave me an excuse to do what I had been dreaming for years to do.  I wanted to stop perming my hair!

I wanted to stop perming my hair, but at the core of it all was that I needed liberation from everyone's expectations for me, including my mother.  I had "transitioned" for about two years before my big chop, but that transition was interrupted every step of the way by my mother.

I would come home during my breaks and my mother would ask me, "Why I didn't perm my hair?".  At first, I said that I didn't want to and then she would promptly perm my hair.  Then, I would say I didn't have enough money or I didn't know any good hair stylist and then she would promptly perm my hair.  The best alternative came in weaves.  The last weave before I went back to natural was by a woman I not gone to before.  Little did I know that my hair had been severely tangled in one front section of my hair until I decided to take the weave out less than a month later.

I seized the moment.  I grabbed the scissors and chopped that section off.  I then called my mother and told her that I have to cut all of my hair off because it was all matted.  After I hung up, I chopped the rest off!  It was exhilarating!!!!   Really I think I missed that moment of time of true liberation from everyone!  I miss that moment of strength and glory.

Peace ladies!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Awkward Stage "Part Deux"

Ode to the Awkward

Oh how I love my hair
Oh how I love thee
Oh how I do not know what to do with you
I love you, but I don't love you
I love the curls, the wave, the full pattern,
But I just can't bun it
I can't top knot it
I can't, I can't I can't
Can I chop it?

Here I am again at the Awkward Stage again and this second time around again I am not enjoying it.  I had forgotten what it was like, but luckily I have been there and luckily I still have long hair in the back.  I believe that this stage requires more self love and patience because it requires more attention then the former and latter stage.  This stage in essence is your pre-teen (tween) years.

One, nurture yourself during this stage.  In Middle School, I nurtured myself unwittingly and I came out with flying colors in High School.  I stayed away from the bad crowd and I focused on my studies, thus ignoring all the family strife at home and just simply read books.  By the time, my teenage years rolled around well I was set.  I excelled in High School.  Treat your mid-length hair the same way.

Two, love thy hair no matter the stage.  Like those darn Middle School pictures your mother will love so much and show everyone to your crushing defeat, so too will appear your mid-length hair pics.  Love it.  It is your hair!

Three, pick up good habits.  If you pick up good habits at this stage, then long hair will be a breeze for you and well that awkward stage will not be around so long!

Peace ladies!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Awkward Stage

Hello Ladies,

This topic has been on my mind for quite some time... the dreaded "Awkward Stage" aka medium length hair stage.  All of you long hair naturals know what I am talking about.  Short hair naturals be prepared to embark on this stage.  Ladies in this stage, well I feel your pain!  You can get through it.  Just hold on and you will be out of it in no time!  Do not make the awkward stage your make or break stage in your journey to long natural hair!

I believe this stage is when a lot of naturals choose to either remain natural or go back to the perm (yes I said perm and not relaxer).  Why?  Well change can be hard and you already did the difficult thing of becoming natural and the short hair was a breeze.  You also overcame the feelings of not feeling feminine enough with short hair (of course not everyone feels this).  You may have also started to feel comfortable with seeing your real hair curl pattern and density.  Now this?

Your hair is too short to do the styles you see on blogs, TV, or even YouTube, but it also is too short to just get up and go.  So, your mind may wander back to the hair you were accustomed to, relaxed hair.  It is not that relaxed hair was any easier, but you were used to it!   You may reminisce about the first time your mother let you style your hair all by yourself.  It was so easy and liberating.  Of course, your mother still took care of the heavy lifting with relaxing your hair herself or you went to the beautician, but after that you were responsible for styling your hair.  As for me, the first time I was tasked with relaxing my own hair came when I went to college and I rarely did that.

Rarely perming my hair and not having my mother around just made the decision not to perm ever again so much easier.  The mid-length stage in the beginning of your journey, however, brings you back to the throws of your being an eight year old girl tasked with taking care of all of her hair needs, except you had to complete all of it.  However, now you don't perm anymore and you don't have your mother or beautician there to help you!  Maybe you do have a beautician to help you, but you still have to style your hair yourself.  Oh the discomfort, the discomfort.

I am here to tell you that you can make it and be content during this stage.  So ladies, here is what I did.  I protective styled.  I luckily had the natural hair community, which included my close friends to help me.  They kept me in check when I wore those protective styles too much or too long.  I also had my sibling and guy friends who would compliment me to death and ask to see my hair.  They all loved me through it and well it made that awkward stage much easier to fly by.  Right now I am back in the awkward stage again.  I big chopped my hair again (third time) in December 2013, however I only big chopped the front part of my head.  I also had to wean myself from being scissor happy (another discussion for another time), so I am back to the mid-length again.  This time it is easier and I know for sure this too shall pass.  I want to enjoy this mid-length hair--my naturally God given hair.

Friday, January 2, 2015

So You Wanna Go Natural?

I say to the women thinking of going back to natural, "Take a minute to think about what it means to return to natural, then forget about it and just do it!" the more you take the time to think about how to go natural, or how everyone will receive it, then the more you will not take that needed leap.  My natural hair story, that I will go into detail later posts, took me three years to realize because I did those exact things.  It was not until an unfortunate accident that I got the courage to just chop off all of my permed hair.  Once those permed tresses left, I felt liberated.  I delved head on into the beginning of my natural hair journey.  In my opinion, there are three steps one must take in order to begin the process.  Don't get it twisted (yes a pun); however, doing the big chop only begins the journey.   Also, I assure you missteps will occur that, but those missteps help you learn and don't worry because a natural hair community exists to guide you in loving the hair God gave you!

Do you remember when your mother first let you style your own hair?  Also, do you remember when the responsibility of taking care of your hair became yours?  Well, think of going back to natural as the rebirth of those childhood moments.  You have to re-learn how to care for your hair.  It took time back then, so why not give yourself a break and be patient enough to learn again.  Think of going of natural as the beginning of a sweet love affair.  It is exciting, a little scary, and a huge deal in the beginning because it is a first time, but in no time you will be a master of your own God given hair.

Certainly, there are questions you have that I wish I pondered when I first went natural because they haunted me later on in my journey (I will surely share more as we progress in our dialogue).  There are so many things to ponder like what can I do with my hair since it is not straight anymore, how will my friends and family respond, how will this affect me in the workplace, what is my hair type, texture, and density and more.  However, I say to you only concentrate on Identity.

How do you perceive yourself and why?  Do you love yourself, I mean really love yourself?  Too heavy for you, then let me explain.  I went natural in college, but I was still suffering from the I gotta ask my mother for permission syndrome before I go changing my hair.  This prevented me from going back to natural earlier.  Consider this, I had just left from under my parents wing at 17 years old, so I had barely been independent.  I had just began my the formation of my adulthood identity, me.  So, consider where you are in your life and give yourself a break in the deeper questions because you will learn the answer in time.  Sometimes you have to just go in at once knowing you are well able to handle it (I am picking up inspiration from Caleb from the Bible)!

Peace ladies!