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Despite what some might think I have been “natural” for 13 years…maybe with a hiccup here and there…but they don’t count because when I did relax my hair when it got too annoying for me to handle I shaved that shit off.

In 2000…May 27, 2000 I had my hair relaxed in a cute Hallie Berry pixie cut. The upkeep of that cut was too much for my post-grieving mind (Mom passed away a week before) to handle. I went to my boyfriend, his clippers in hand and said:

“Shave it!”

13 years later I became bored with the look and the snide remarks of “You would look so pretty with longer hair” or “Are you gay? Your hair is so short.”

1) I personally never thought I looked that great with longer hair.

2) What world is this where only women with short hair are gay?

I attempted to grow my hair out twice and couldn’t deal with the work involved.

Remember I had years in between my tries of a carefree hair “do”. No worries of the rain and humidity. I wasn’t accustomed to “hat hair”. I could wake up late, throw on an outfit and be out the door.

I have 4c hair.

Naysayers of hair typing…please go suck on a pipe because if there aren’t different types of hair then no one would be a product junkie. Products would work for all and everyone’s hair would look the same!

Type 4c hair is composed of curl patterns that will almost never clump without doing a specific hair style. It can range from fine/thin/super soft to wiry/coarse with lots of densely packed strands. 4c hair has been described as a more “challenging” version of 4b hair. Some say 4c looks identical to 4b except that the curls are so tightly kinked, there is seemingly no definition. 4c hair can shrink more than 75%.

You can go to NaturallyCurly to learn more about hair types. My mom had 3c hair; my sister has 4a, in my opinion.

My hair has always been a challenge- for my mom and myself. Growing up I often heard “I wanted boys because I don’t know how to style hair.” said mom, who herself kept her hair very very short.

I had choices of either a relaxer or braids. There wasn’t going to be much variety of styles if I didn’t choose one. And this was the early 90’s…being “natural” wasn’t something you would see a lot of.

I have spent Saturday afternoons in a hot salon, under a hot dryer for a style that would last a hot minute if I wasn’t careful.

I have withstood the smell of the creamy crack.

I have sat patiently, digging my nails into my skin while the creamy crack burned my scalp because I “needed a few more minutes to get my hair straight”.

I have woken up at 5am to get down to 125th Street before 7a, synthetic hair in hand looking for an African woman to braid my hair for 12-15 hours while other women sat around me in a large room, filled with chatter, doing the same thing…praying your braider wasn’t fond of taking breaks.

Compared to being natural all that was EASY.  I wasn’t doing anything. My biggest worry was the cost and time factor.

Now I think about the time factor, cost, and end results. I’m in control of it all.

It’s a new pill to swallow.

I am 5 months into my new “growth” /natural hair. I think I have maybe 2 inches of hair. I wake up earlier than I should (Mon-Fri) so I can co-wash my hair, coat it with moisturizers(a mix of store bought products and coconut oil) then I run through my curls some curl enhancing products. I dress slowly so my hair has time to dry, perform magic -forming a tight cap of curls. I spritz my hair with a mixture of water, castor oil and jojoba oil liking the shine and softness the mixture creates.

I marvel throughout the day at my curls…never believing as a child, teen, young adult that this would be possible of my hair.

But the next day I wake up, pull off my sleeping bonnet and start the process all over again. Mentally counting down till I can do something else beside a “wash’n’go”.

I’m in the TWA (tiny ween afro) stage. My hair for the sake of healthy growth will be in this stage till Spring. I pray. After that I can go around saying

“I have an afro of curls”

Then I will be able to experiment with twist and bantu knots. Maybe a flat iron once in a while.

I have tried enough products that I am going to give my wallet a rest and stick with what has been working.

In the beginning…whoa…honey chile…I  reached for every product that sounded like “as long as applied wet” I would have curls like

diana-ross-picture-1

I have been lucky and have found a great group of products that I can interchange and still get results kinda like above. It was a slllllooooowwwww learning process.

I have learned that I am lucky that years of being “natural” HAS made my hair healthy. My hair is strong and hasn’t shown signs of needing more moisture or more protein. There is a good balance that I am trying to hold on to.

Since I literally mess with my hair everyday I can’t really see if there has been substantial new growth.  My sister saw me over the weekend and she said “It is growing in nicely.” I have notice some slight shedding and I wouldn’t even call it that when I comb out my hair or I’m in the shower. As your hair grows it is normal to shed.

Yet I can’t complain about growth. I started with a shaved head…fuzz on my scalp.

2″ within 5 months is pretty darn good.

photo

Ok so I started out with a bit more than “fuzz”. The pic on the right doesn’t do new growth justice…as stated above at least 75% of my hair will shrink as it dries. No I am not brave enough to post a pic with my hair sans curling products…lol

My new looked has me going way back into my “roots” and I am wearing my glasses again…preferring them to my contacts.

In my mind I need something to balance the new feature of hair in the overall scope of my face.

People think I’m crazy for saying that.

People also thought I was crazy for shaving my hair off every month for 13 years.

Without that crazy act I would never have understood the meaning of “confidence”.

Walking around with no hair, being bold enough to walk around with no hair.

That was easy.

Coming to terms with actually liking myself with hair and the process of doing my hair isn’t easy.

Being patient as growth takes it’s sweet as time isn’t easy.

Not being able to say that I wear my hair short as a way to honor my mom isn’t easy.

But believing she is looking down at me, smiling at my curls…that is easy.