What were the driving factors that lead me to embark on my natural hair journey? Well, I have to share my story from the beginning...ok, not THAT far but starting in 1991.
My first relaxer was when I was 8 years old. It was such a welcoming transition because so many of my peers at school had relaxed hair by the 3rd grade. It was like some sort of rite of passage. Plus, I was tired of getting picked on by a girl who kept calling me George Bush whenever I wore my hair in a bushy puff on the top of my head. Ahhhh, the things I can laugh about now although THAT did hurt my feelings a long time ago.
I started to do my own hair when I got to high school. It was normally a little past shoulder length throughout my entire high school career and thinking back, I am surprised it was even THAT long. I abused the mess out of my hair with the constant curling, flat ironing, coloring (both using the boxed highlight kits and the homemade method: peroxide), and last but NOT least, chemically over processing of my hair. But of course, I did not know any better...tsk, tsk, tsk.
You all probably do not understand and this would most likely make most relaxed and natural ladies cringe, but during my 6-8 week post touch ups, my mom would slap the creamy crack OVER at least half of my already relaxed hair.. OMG! LOL. We had no idea this was a big no no (because (1) we had failed to read the directions carefully and (2) I clearly still had hair on my head to repeatedly do so by the grace of God). The amazing part is that even after over processing my hair time and time again, I had a section in my crown area that would NEVER get straight. I had to flat iron the mess out of that section to prevent my wraps from looking poofy on the top of my head. Oh, the torture. I still thought I was cute though...lol. My signature styles back then in high school were the loose baby doll curls and the dooby wrap.
I was never the type to go to the salon to get my hair done ("did") on a regular basis so when I got to college, I did my own touch ups in the great comforts of my dorm room. Once again, it was by God's grace I still had hair because with all the college parties freshman and sophomore year, I was burning the life out of my hair. I can remember all the instances of filling my room with the scent of burnt hair as I blow dried it in preparation to curl and then flat iron it for my dooby wrap. Unfortunately, I had been conditioned throughout my relaxed years to believe that constant breakage, burnt hair, and chemically over processing hair were normal processes to our hair type.
I might have reached arm pit length once but after that, the abuse started to catch up with my hair. My hair started breaking off a lot by the end of my sophomore year. To rectify this issue, it was nothing for me to chop off my ends to make them look blunt again and seemingly healthy because I was never concerned about length. Well, at least not until I chopped my hair a little past chin length. At that point I thought to myself, "my hair has never been this short". I then became more conscious about the health of my hair.
Although I did not know it at the time, my last relaxer was March 2003. It was routine for me to refrain from any relaxers over the summer period to allow my hair a "break" from chemical processing. When I was younger, I would get braids to last throughout the summer, but in college, I just continued using heating tools to manage my hair and its new growth until my first relaxer of the fall semester. The summer before my junior year (2003), I decided to research ways to take better care of my hair online As I was doing my research, I stumbled across one of the first and few natural hair communities http://www.nappturality.com/ and after a few days of reading through articles, lurking around the forums, and stalking fotki albums of natural women, I decided that I would start my transitioning process back to my natural roots.
Welcome to my blog! This space has been used over the past several years to document mainly my natural hair journey and several different aspects of my life such as spiritual matters, my jewelry design, and parenting. I will from time to time post on this blog but my newly revamped blog can be found at BeautifullyCurled.com. Here you will find much recent updates about my hair journey along with my daughter's and so much more. Hope you will come by and visit and thanks for stopping by this blog. Be blessed. -Kris