When it comes to all things natural hair related, my motto is “to each it’s own.” Why? Because the journey that one person takes to achieve healthy natural hair will not be the same as yours. I probably have some of the same chapters in my natural hair story like most of you.
When I was little, my mom took care of my hair. She braided it in box braids, cornrows, big twists with cute beaded scrunchies. I got to middle school and used to go to school and come home with wild, frizzy hair. My mom couldn’t stand it. I didn’t care about my hair, I was young and without a care in the world. Then, as I got older I started realizing all the black girls were straightening their hair in my high school.
I was also surrounded by a mostly Caucasian student population. There wasn’t a single girl that I knew of with natural hair unless she was mixed and had “good” hair (hate that). Naturally, I wanted to fit in. I was a member of the dance team and was one of two black girls on the team. We often had to style our hair a certain way for competitions which required me to straighten my hair often. I began texturizing it to straighten my curls out and make my hair much easier to deal with. That was who I was for 8 years of my life…texturizing my hair every 6 months and straightening it every 2 weeks.
I thought my natural hair was ugly and too much to handle. In reality, it was just an issue I had with my self-esteem that took me years to unveil. I hid behind my straight hair because I was afraid to embrace what I truly looked like…a black woman. Before I started transitioning, I knew that I had reached a point where I had done so much damage to my hair that it was irreversible. I grew my chemically-altered hair out for 3 years, which was long enough for me to get to a point where I could cut it at a decent length and not have to big chop.
I have SO much respect for women out there that have the balls to big chop because I couldn’t do it… bravo! However, this is where my motto comes in. I had my own goals and limitations, so I decided to go natural at my own pace. The difficulty in transitioning is that you do have to have patience. One of the advantages of transitioning is that you still have length, but you do have to pay much more attention to your hair because the line of demarcation (where natural meets chemically altered) is very fragile. Also, it is hard to wear your hair naturally curly styles because of the stark differences in texture.
The biggest takeaway from my process of transitioning was that I learned patience. It really helped me with being 100% natural because caring for natural hair takes time, effort, dedication, and consistency. It made me a better person! I also learned more about myself, I realized that I do not need to please anybody with the way that I look except for myself. Even though it took me longer to get to this point, transitioning was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life and I will NEVER go back! I wish you all a happy transition, or a happy big-chop, whatever your path may be!
If you are currently transitioning or thinking about transitioning you don’t want to miss part two of this blog post. It will be posted on Monday, February 11th, so stay tuned for my “How To Guide For Transitioning.”
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I’m Gabriella! I’m 26 years old and I currently live in a small town called Winchester in VA. I am a graduate of VCU with a B.S. in Psychology and I am currently working on getting into grad school in hopes of becoming a physician assistant. I am a natural hair enthusiast and I’ve been on my own personal hair journey for 6 months. My purpose of joining Kinky Hair Rocks is to be a source of information and motivation to others that are going natural!