Signs of Change: My Nappy Journey

I thought that I posted this long ago but here it is:

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 this forum have mention difficulty with transition, I have felt and remembered what I struggled through.

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. 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.

During that transition I made the mistake of going to an untrained stylist (yeah he had a license but he had no clue), who used clippers on my head. You see I had let my hair grow to about 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. Well, I went it to get my ends professionally trimmed, however I didn`t go in withmy hair blowdried I had washed it and let it do what it was gonna do…BIG MISTAKE. He assumed my hair was the length of that misshaped afro and no longer so he used those 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.

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 got stares, whispered comments, etc, etc. I walked around like that for months. Until one day two brave sistah souls that I had a class with approached me and said… “we love you but that style is not working for you”. Now trust me they weren`t insulting me (one had locs and the other a twa) they were trying to lovely tell me that it was time to correct the damage. They hugged me told me it was gonna be alright and escorted me to a wonderful barber who looked at my head and wanted to cry for me. He washed, conditioned, and cut away those tired spikes. 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. That man took that headband away from me and threw it in the trash and told me to quit hiding. Those words stuck with me.

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.

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