Okay, so I know I haven't really done any blogging about much, especially about my hair. Nonetheless, I thought I'd do a post of my thoughts on being natural again and having to start over hair-wise. This time has been completely different from the last time I went natural. I say this, because I'm in a completely different place in my life than I was the first time I went natural. This time, I had to pick up the pieces literally in my life, starting over in pretty much every aspect. Okay, so here's the (hair) story:
I went natural in 2008ish...sometime after I graduated college, I'd probably say the Winter if my memory serves me right. I was working full-time at my first post-college job. Outside of my 50 mile commute and the typical 9-5, M-F work schedule, I had plenty of time on my hands and plenty of money to spend on hair products. I became so fascinated with doing my own hair, and I was also pretty passionate and committed to being natural. My hair was about neck-length and relatively healthy. I think I got my last relaxer in like Jan 09, but prior to that I had been spacing out my relaxers about 8-10 weeks apart, which I had done in college, because I typically only came home about once every other month. Anyhow, my hair was like I said healthy and so transitioning in the beginning was pretty easy. I could wash, blow dry, and straighten it with no issue. Then it grew out long enough to wear pulled back, which made my hair much easier to maintain and do, though it was not very cute. At this time, I wasn't into weave, extensions, braid or anything like that. I was pretty much just wearing my transitioning hair pulled back in a twist with usually tons of bobby pins holding it in place.
Fast forward about 8 months and my hair was about half way natural. I hadn't been to a salon or had it professionally done by anyone, but had a stockpile of products that probably cost me as much as if I had gone and gotten it done. I would typically trims my ends about every month or so, because I knew with transitioning that I would have to continue to cut of my relaxed ends as my natural hair grew. I went through some real rough patches as far as texture differences, some tangles, but no real breakage. If I were to have straightened my hair during this time, which I sometimes did, it was still pretty even. In August of that year, I had it professionally done, because I wanted someone to go through and do a thorough trim and give me a style, since I was going out of town. Well, it was the hot early days of August and I go to Va and my hair was pretty much a puff ball, but healthy it still was and I could manage it, with the use of heat of course. Anyhow, time went on and the fall came. I found out I was going to be going to the Marine Corps Ball with my at the time b/f and so I decided a sew-in was my best option. I think I had been thinking about it for about a couple of months before I actually got it and was really excited about it. I got it in late October, might have even been the week of Halloween, just so I'd know how to manage it when it came time for the ball, which was going to be about 2 or so weeks later. That sew-in went pretty well, I had left some hair out around my hairline in the front, so of course that required daily straightening and/or product applied to it to keep it looking blended into the weave. I think I had that sew-in for about 8 weeks, taking it out just shy of Christmas week or so. I remember this, because I went and had it taken out and had a ponytail put in right before I had to drive up to SC from Savannah to pick my ex up from training so he could come home for the holidays. Holidays go by and I ended up taking my sew-in out some time in Jan, only to turn right around and get another in Feb. I loved having a sew-in and the second was even better. Super long straight black hair that came to the middle of my back. I'd had less hair left out this time and so it was a little easier to maintain that time around. I believe I kept that sew-in for about another 8 weeks, taking it out sometime in late April or so, I really don't remember.
Unfortunately, last year was somewhat of a blur after about May. I left in May to go to training myself(I will elaborate at another time) and so I wore my natural hair out and it was a nightmare. Jump, skip, and hop to July and I decided, because of the environment I was in that a relaxer would be best suited for that time being. My hair had grown so much and it was almost shoulder length once I relaxed it. Mind you, it was completely natural before I relaxed it, and that was a huge accomplishment to me, but I had no time to bask in the glory of it, because of the environment I was in. I returned home and tried to keep up my relaxed hair, which in the beginning was fine. It appeared to still be healthy and strong, but it wasn't. The relaxer had already done its damage. Well, of course once you relax you can't just go back natural, so I figured I'd just stay natural. My life at this time was extremely stressful and I was going through and excruciating time emotionally. Around October I started to notice that my hair was falling out. Not just little by little, but huge clunks of it were coming out everywhere. When I combed it, laid down, and especially washed it, it just kept coming out. I didn't understand and couldn't figure out what in the heck were going on. I thought maybe I had used some on it, maybe something protein based and on my now relaxed hair, it had made it weak. I also thought it was the stress of my emotional turmoil. Nevertheless, to this day I'm not sure which one or exactly what it was, though it was most likely a combination of the two, which other variables that contributed to my hair loss. At this point, I was devastated! I'd spent 1 1/2 - 2 years growing my hair out and now it was just falling out for no reason. Finally, after trying to savage my hair through the holidays by wearing ponytails and gel back styles, I couldn't take it anymore. I had hair that had broken off so bad that I had patches down to my scalp all over my head, but more specifically in the back. Pretty much, the top had persevered, but not the back. In February of this year I cut about 80% of it off, I cut all of the scraggly relaxed hair off in the back and left the crown and top longer, because like I said it had been pretty resilient. It was so hard having to start over, and I was embarrassed and extremely self-conscious. I resorted to wearing a half wig, because they were affordable and easy, well for a while. I couldn't get a sew-in, because time were hard financially and I couldn't afford it, much less have a person to do one. Over the past 6 months, I have continued to wear the half-wigs while I let my natural hair grow underneath. Its finally gotten long enough to braid and I will so be getting another sew-in very soon, well as soon as I find someone I trust to do it. The best thing for my hair and lifestyle at this point is to keep it low-maintenance, so that I can keep my hands out of it. About a week ago, I went through and did a thorough trim, getting all the dead and rough ends off, so that my hair could breath and to make sure that there was absolutely not reminisce of relaxed hair anywhere.
Its been a journey, but one well worthy of taking. My hair is still short, but its healthy and that's the main thing I'm concerned about right now. Of course I want to to grow long, and after this time, I don't plan on cutting it ever again. I will get the occasion trim when and where needed, but no more major cuts.
This is my journey thus far and it will continue to be an ever-changing and I'm sure eventful one. The important thing I learned in this entire process of having to start over again, is that it is okay to in fact start over.