Me in the 7th grade a year after
my hair fell out.
I got my first relaxer (perm) when I was in the sixth grade. I begged my mom to let me get one. She said, okay, but just around the edges and sides of the head where the hair is “worse.” Well, that was the WORST thing I could have done. All my hair along the sides fell out! I wore short cropped styles and stacks for the remainder of grade school and throughout high school. It never dawned on me to go natural despite suffering through severe breakage and scalp burns from the relaxer (“just five more minutes, I want to make sure my edges are straight”—new growth was the enemy.)
The end of high school is when I decided to do my first, “big chop.” (That’s when you cut off all the length of your hair and all that is left is the new growth, the natural unprocessed good stuff.) I really can’t remember why I did it. I can’t remember why I did a lot of things at that age… I had to be either very bold or crazy to cut all my hair off at a time when natural hair was not a trend. So over the last 10+ years, I’ve been going back and forth between natural and relaxed styles. I’ve had just about every hairstyle you can name (from Jerry to Brandy braids, from locs to sew-ins.)
My first "big chop" senior year
in high school.
My relationship with my hair hasn’t always been a walk in the park. I’ve had times where trying to manage my hair was exhausting and made me utterly depressed. I would look in the mirror and just cry. I hated my hair…I hated myself. Now mind you, there where deeper issues than just my hair going on, but my perception of beauty was all out of whack. I thought, if God really loved me, he wouldn’t have made me look this way. It wasn’t until I realized that it was God’s infinite love for me that made him create me this way. That reality had to sink in and get deep down in my soul before I could start walking in freedom in my mind.
Right now, I’m enjoying my un-relaxed, natural hair. It’s finally where I want it. I feel like the world is mine and the possibilities of what I can do with my hair are endless. Trying new styles is fun and exciting. I’m always looking for new ideas and techniques.