Felicia J., Macon, GA
I got my first relaxer at the age of 8. I was jealous of my sisters straight long hair from their relaxers and I wanted my mane to look just like theirs. after weeks of begging my mother, she finally caved in and decided to allow me to relax it. I endured the pain of my scalp burning only because I knew the ending results would be flawless. I was so happy with my hair but I quickly became addicted to the creamy crack. I would get my hair relaxed at the sight of a kink or wave at the root, which would be about every 4 weeks. My hair quickly begun to get thinner and very unhealthy, breaking off in some places so bad I'd have to chop it off in places. That's when I started bonding tracks in my hair, sometimes using a blow dryer to get the glue to adhere faster. This was doing more damage to my hair as well.
By the time I got to high school my hair was a damaged, dried out, over processed mess! I stopped bonding tracks in my hair but I still continued getting relaxers monthly. I wanted my hair to get back healthy but I didn't know where to begin. i would go to the beautician every once in a while to get a trim, but would only allow my sister to relax my hair. By my senior year of high school, my hair was barely touching my shoulders. But I was happy it was better off than it was 4 years prior.
I was preparing myself for college when I realized that I wasn't going to have my sister readily available to do my relaxer every month like how I liked, even tho I was only going to school 45 minutes away from home. When I went off to school in August 2009, I barely went home, so therefor, I was barely getting relaxers. I absolutely hated having new growth, but I'd usually just flat iron it really good, or I'd get braids so I wouldn't have to deal with it. I'd only go home during holiday breaks so while I was home, I'd get my sister to put my relaxer in.
In November 2011, I was on YouTube and I found a video about Transitioning back to natural hair. I was surprised because I was transitioning without really noticing it and I made the decision to go natural. But for some reason it was harder for me to transition knowing what I was doing. After 5 months of officially transitioning, I broke down and got a relaxer on April 28, 2012. I was so relieved to have my straight hair again, but I started to miss my kinks and decided to try to transition to natural one more time. But transitioning caused me to pick up another habit, flat ironing my hair. I would flat iron my hair every night before I went to bed and would even go back to my room in between classes to straighten out any frizzy hairs that popped up due to the humid southern heat. I kept up with that process until I got a sew in for the beginning of my last semester in college, which was in January 2013. I was only flat ironing my leave out which I had around my perimeter and in the middle of my hair.
I decided to get some Senegalese Twists in February to give my hair a break from flat ironing. I kept the twists in my hair for a month in a half and took them out, only to get another sew in for my Graduation pictures. When I washed my hair, I was so shocked at how thick my hair had gotten and how pretty my new curl pattern was. But I was not yet ready to deal with the two hair types my hair had yet and continued getting sew ins until after I graduated that May.
After I moved back home, I took my last sew in out and washed and flat ironed my hair, and boy was that a struggle. I tried to hard to get my hair straight like how it used to be when I got relaxers but I could barely get my comb through my hair without a tooth breaking off the comb. I had no clue what to do so I began to let my mind wonder back to my relaxed hair days so I got up and went to the store an bought a relaxer. But as I walked in the store I saw a woman with beautiful natural hair down her back and I walked up to her and told her how beautiful her hair was and how she cared for it and how I was struggling with my new hair. She told me that she never had a relaxer in her life and that most women that wants to go natural and transition for a while end up doing a big chop. She also told me that YouTube would be my best friend during the process and told me some natural hair products she loved using. I knew I wasn't ready to cut my hair off, so I went to YouTube and looked up some hair styles. I begun doing Bantu Knot Outs and Twist Outs on my hair for the next two months. I was enjoying these styles but I hated having to wash my hair and once again having to deal with the two textures. By this point I had transitioned for 15 months so I figured I had enough hair growth to BC. So that night, July 13,2013, I grabbed a pair of scissors and begun cutting away at my hair where the relaxed ends met the natural hair. I felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders with each snip of the scissors. Granted I had no clue how to cut my own hair, I was just happy I could now consider myself 100% NATURAL!
Fast forward ahead 7 months, I am still natural and I ABSOLUTELY love my hair! I have learned so much from YouTube, Natural Hair Blogs, and even some of my friends who decided to go natural as well. The Natural hair community is so supportive of one another and I am proud to be a part of such a beautiful group of women (and some men)! I decided not to used heat in my head until my official 1 year Nappyversary and I am beyond ecstatic to see how much my hair has grown. I still to this day thank my Natural Hair Angel I met at the store that day for inspiring me to continue my journey back to natural hair. I look forward to my many years of having natural hair and to continue to learn more about my hair and myself!