Stephanie, Brockton, MA

Brockton, MA

At the age of 16, I relaxed my hair for my sweet 16. I had very damaged hair, and my hair stylist resorted to a weave to cover up the damage and hopefully allow my hair to grow. 

After 2 years of weaves, my hair had grown to a little longer than shoulder length. I no longer had a weave, and I had thin, but long hair. 

Then came time to tackle my hair college. By then my hair had broken because of my dry and split-end infested hair. It was a disaster. I covered the damage with box braids, but soon I needed to give my hair a break and take them out. I ended up cutting my hair in an asymmetrical style that was very short, above ear length. I had lost inches of my hair all due to unhealthy hair. I wanted nothing but to cut it all off and regrow my natural hair. But it wasn't that easy. Going to a predominantly white, preppy school did not encourage me to discover my natural hair. Everyone had hair that blew in the wind, and could be flipped, every characteristic that I knew my natural hair would not have. Especially being a freshman, I knew I couldn't risk doing something I might regret. 

But my whole view of who I was as a person greatly changed when I experienced a very life changing event. I won't describe what occurred, but it was an event that allowed me to realize my self worth, and who I was. I wanted everyone to embrace who I was, not for my wind blowing hair, and not for my natural, kinky/curly hair, but for myself no matter what I chose to do with my hair. 

So February, 2013, I stopped getting relaxers. My then best friend, and now boyfriend, was one of my biggest supporters. Every time I thought of going back to a relaxer, he would remind me of how hard I worked to get as far as I had gotten. 

In December of 2013, I cut off any remains of relaxed hair I had. I was and am a complete natural. My hair is healthy, and ALIVE. I love washing and twisting my hair, even though it may take an hour and my arms get tired. It is all worth it in the morning when I rock my curly fro. I love not having to go to the salon, and that I can take care of my own hair. I love the elasticity of the tiny curls that form after a wash. I love my hair. My natural hair. The feeling of my natural hair gives me life.