I have told the story to my evolution many many times so here goes…
I started out gradually in 1996 “babying” my hair out of its relaxed state. I manicured it and lavished it with attention so much so that it was evident that I coveted my own long relaxed hair. I knew nothing about the care of it I just wanted long “CURLY” hair. Nappy was an offensive word cause other folks always told me I had good hair. How could they know when it’s been relaxed since I was in the 8th grade. My journey was full of bad days because I would look in the mirror at my head and cry because I knew I looked crazy but I wasn’t willing to give up. Sure I transitioned gradually and inch by inch I cut it all out while still maintaining my length. I gradually cut my long relaxed tresses and pressed the new growth still trying to fit in. Then one day I stopped that too, started twisting my hair. I look at photos of that and shake my head because I looked like I was going through something and you know what I was it was CHANGE. The one thing that I thought was such a disaster I know was the best thing for me now.
By the time I thought I was finished I had 15 inches of hair: 8 inches of new growth with about 7 inches of relaxed because I was too afraid of having short hair. I had never had it didn’t know what my head looked like without hair and I wasn’t willing to try it. During that transition I went it to get my ends professionally trimmed in January 1998, however I didn’t go in with my hair blown dry. I had washed it and let it do what it was gonna do…BIG MISTAKE. I made the mistake of going to an untrained stylist (yeah he had a license but he had no clue). He assumed my hair was the length of that misshaped afro and no longer so he used clippers to “trim” my hair. I went from all that hair to what I called NO HAIR (4inches) in seconds. I cried and cried and cried. When I got home I stared in the mirror at myself for the longest time and shook my head. I proceeded to wash my hair at that point only to discover that he never combed my hair out before cutting it so I had spiked chunks of hair everywhere in different lengths all over my head. It was very uneven shorter in some places longer in others. Again, in my mind there was nothing I could do. I still had to go to work and to school so I had to come up with something.
I knew nothing about hair types or anything like that til I first met Dee of Nappturality.com in 99 way back when on Blackplanet.com before she created Nappturality.com. What I saw was a complete mess on my head. The killer thing about it is I never thought to pick up the scissors and even my hair. I just grabbed a comb and flat twisted my whole head. MIND you I just said that it was long in some places and short in others so those flat twists weren’t as uniformed as you might think so I threw on a cloth headband (that only made it worst). But you think I let that stop me…NOPE. I walked out the house like it was any old day and did my thing. I walked around like that for months on end and even with all the whispers and stares I didn’t do a thing LOL! I never accepted my hair I walked with my head cowered down never dressing up anymore. I turned into a depressed woman wearing baggy shirts and sweats. Looking as if I just rose out of bed that way. If it wasn’t for two Social Psychology classmates of mine I would still probably be living with a relaxed mind. Now trust me they weren’t insulting me (one had locs and the other a twa=teeny weeny afro) they were trying to lovely tell me that it was time to correct the damage. They took me to a wonderful barber who I thank for snatching that cloth headband off my head and throwing it in the garbage. After he washed, conditioned, and trimmed my hair and then he made me look in that mirror. Let me tell you I didn’t even recognize myself. This time when I cried they were tears of joy cause the nightmare was finally over. That 3 1/2 inches fro was so beautiful. The one statement he said that changed my life was “QUIT HIDING“. I cannot tell you how I cried cause that is exactly what I had been doing all that time. From that day in April, I have loved my napptural self and I wouldn’t change my journey because my eyes needed to be opened. Every time I share this story it never gets old to me, it just reminds me how far I’ve come.
My life changed in 1998 and I will never go back to waiting 3-4 hours to sit in someone’s chair when I had an appointment again. I will never run, duck or hide from the rain again. I will never refuse to go out of the house because I am having a bad hair day. I will never let another human being dictate how I should wear my hair cause I might not get a job. I will never change the way I feel about my hair because someone else doesn’t “care for it”.
Even when I was relaxing, I was looking for an escape route. I knew the whole time it just wasn’t me. From the time I was in the 8th grade til Winter 1998, I felt trapped, held down, weighed down by what society would think of me if I just stopped walking into the beauty shop to let someone DO my hair. I got tired of struggling with myself and just STOPPED. When various people in the forum, Nappturality.com have mention difficulty with transition, I have felt and remembered what I struggled through.
Presently, it’s been 5 years since that awareness occurred I can’t even tell you the actually length of my hair cause I have stopped measuring. I would guesstimate it to be 14.5- 15 inches (unstraightened, no heat). It touches the top of my bra connection in the back when blow dried (about 16-17 inches). I tell you even now I still love the health of my hair and I will never go back.