Inspired by the lovely goddess among us @ijeoma (ABOUT MY HAIR) literally ex out of this list right now and go read every single thing she has to say!!
  1. I got my first relaxer when I was 5 years old, after pressuring my mother for months. Another girl in my class had one and her hair was as shiny as aluminum foil. She was always flinging it everywhere. I wanted to fling too.
    My mother worked two jobs and didn't have time to argue with me, so she bought a Just For Me relaxer kit. She liked that relaxing my hair would make it easier to manage, and I loved that I was able to fling freely. I kept relaxing my hair every other month until I was 15.
  2. Cut to 9th grade. I'm watching America's Next Top Model Cycle 5 Reruns.
    One of the aspiring models, Bre, has this gorgeous hair. Thick, long and curly. I had never seen anything like it. I asked my big sister how I could get my hair like that. Maybe foam rollers, or a new curling iron? I was so desperate. My big sister rolled her eyes at me. "No, stupid. She didn't do anything to it. Its just natural. Yours used to look like that too."
  3. I was SHOCKED. Somehow, my baby brain had forgotten what my hair actually looked like. I was so used to the pattern that I didn't even think about it; my kinky hair would grow out an inch, I'd relax it immediately, trim, repeat.
    Plus, this was 2007. The natural movement had just barely begun, and I had literally never seen any black girl over the age of 7 with unprocessed hair. I was instantly sick with longing for what I had so carelessly been stripping away. My mind was made up, I would never relax my hair again.
  4. So I began my hair transition. For those who haven't had the pleasure of enduring this process, "natural hair transitioning" refers to the months/years in which you grow out your unprocessed/natural hair while gradually cutting off your relaxed ends.
    Its not cute. You're walking around with two completely different textures on your head, so styling is a nightmare. I tried to transition as long as possible because I was terrified of having short hair for the first time in my life. During this time, I mostly hid my hair in tiny microbraids. Here's me rocking my signature braids in our school's production of Seussical The Musical. Ugh, I know.
  5. I ended up transitioning for about a year and a half. I meant to go longer, but I reached my breaking point.
    I was 16. I felt like I was holding on to my relaxed ends (at this point still about 10 inches long) simply because I was scared I wouldn't be beautiful without the safety net of long hair. I wanted to push myself to be confident and I was tired of hiding. I went into the basement with our kitchen shears (only scissors I could find 😦) and a mirror. I "big chopped", as they say.
  6. My mother was FURIOUS.
    My mom is an immigrant who is regularly concerned about my ability to assimilate. She wants me to be proud of our heritage but also "able to get a job". When she saw my hair like this for the time, she was in tears. I spent an hour convincing her that I could flat iron it on occasion, but I wanted to try this out. It took her years, but she eventually came around. Side note: lets NOT talk about the sunglasses indoors and that cell phone. It was a different time (2009).
  7. My new head of hair was part dream come true and part nightmare.
    Once I started wearing my "real"hair, I immediately felt political. This was a statement. I was the only natural girl at my school, and wearing my hair like this drew tons of confusion and questions. It was impossible for me to blend in like I did before. I loved that it made me feel more myself than ever before. The problem was, I had no idea how to style/take care of this new hair. For a while I took to wearing huge flowers to distract from the frizzy mop on my head. Everyone was the wiser.
  8. When I got to college, I was free to experiment with my hair without my mother's disapproving gaze.
    I cut it, tried new products, neglected it and treated it like my crowning glory. I looked bananas most of the time, but getting to know myself and getting to know my hair were one in the same.
  9. I even dyed it!
  10. And straightened it. Alot.
  11. And got tons of damage from the heat and the bleach! And didn't give a fuck!
    I felt empowered by experimenting with my hair. I had fun and felt beautiful and did what I want and only what I want for the very first time.
  12. Eventually I had to cut off the bleached parts and wait for it to grow back.
    I spent about two years in a variety of twists and braids. These protective styles made life easier, but I really missed my hair.
  13. I flat ironed my hair for the very last time for graduation, per my mothers request.
    I won't straighten again because of the risk of heat damage, but I didn't mind for just that one day. My mothers given me alot so really, it was the least I could do.
  14. These days, I'm having so much fun expressing myself through my hair.
    To me, my coarse, naturally jet black hair is pure defiance. Its militant. My hair makes people uncomfortable. Its physical proof that I'm finally able to see myself as beautiful without feeling the need to align myself with other peoples beauty standards. Don't get it twisted; my hair is so much fucking work. Its also completely mine, and I wouldn't trade it for anything.
  15. This is me, nappy as fuck, and you can stay mad. ❤️👍🏾