From natural to relaxed: the struggle

Oh. My. Gosh. If there’s one thing that’s been a struggle for me for YEARS now, it’s been my hair. My hair is so thick and luscious, curly and kinky, and viscous on a weak comb or brush! The struggle started when I was a little girl, honestly. I didn’t like relaxers because I really just didn’t like the process of getting my hair done. When I reached adulthood, I would stop getting relaxers, only to go back- and eventually chopping off my hair several times. I kept it short til about 2015 because it was easier to manage and stuff beneath a wig. Fast-forward to present day, my hair is just a few inches from my bra strap and would’ve been longer if it wasn’t for stress and confusion on how to handle my new length. I’ll never forget August of 2016, my hair had just passed shoulder length and I wasn’t detangling or washing it regularly. When it was a TWA I didn’t have to do that, but boy was I in for a surprise. It seemed like that was when my hair “stopped growing” because the breakage became too much to bear. I don’t like to wear wigs or weaves anymore, I don’t really care for natural styles on myself, and I’m too cheap to go to a salon to get my hair braided. I miss my relaxed hair days, I do. I understand now why I was relaxed since childhood. I think it’s good that I went natural and learned about my hair and myself. I also learned a lot about hair care from going natural and I’ll be sure to nurture my hair once I’m finally able to get it permanently straightened out. It’s crazy how resistant my hair is to being straightened too. Oh how I wish I could enjoy my hair in its natural state, but after 3 years.. I just don’t. Some people on the internet would say that’s self hate. I don’t really care though because since beginning this journey of understanding my hair, among other parts of myself, I’ve learned to love every thing about the way God made me but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t ways that I think I could enhance my look, or in this case, make my hair easier for me to manage. Also, I used to wonder if getting relaxers meant self hate too. That’s one of the reasons I stopped getting them. I wanted to prove that I had strong ties to and love for my African roots. Then I met several colleagues and classmates of mine who were from various countries on the motherland- all with relaxed hair. They struggled the same way I do with managing their hair and preferred to just relax it. I chuckled when I found this out, but I still waited an additional year to try and relax my hair, juuuuust to be 100% sure that I don’t hate my blackness.

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