On July 24, 2010, I began my natural journey. I was the type of chick that was in the salon chair every week getting that crucial Dominican blowout. I loved my hair to be bone-straight with a lot of body, and the minute it started to feel weighed-down, I’d be back in that chair. So, when I announced to my friends that I was thinking about going natural, they all thought I’d gone off the deep-end. I was literally the LAST person anyone ever thought would go natural. But one day when visiting home I decided to visit my long-time hairstylist to get a deep condition and a trim. Dealing with two textures had become a chore. I was basically burning my hair out hitting my roots with the flat-iron between blowouts to keep my natural roots as straight as the relaxed ends. It was wearing me out. So, when my stylist pulled out the scissors to trim my ends, I took a deep breath and said “Cut it off.” She asked me to repeat myself, so I said it again, “Cut it off!” She looked at me for a few seconds and then asked “Are you sure?” I said, “Please just do it before I lose my nerve!”. I happened to have my camera in my purse, so I handed it to my mom and asked her to capture the moment for me. She dutifully did so. The first few snips were a breeze, but as the scissors got closer to my scalp, I almost freaked. What if my natural hair wasn’t cute? Suppose underneath my relaxed hair lay a dry nappy afro?
When she was done cutting, I was underwhelmed. It wasn’t what I pictured… At. All. Luckily, everybody in the salon loved it. One woman told me she admired my courage. I remembered thinking that was an odd way to put it. I didn’t think of chopping my hair as a courageous act, but more an act of liberation. I was tired of being a slave to my hair. I was tired of burning my hair (and scalp), tired of paying other people lots of money to care for it, tired of being afraid of water (which included sweat, and that meant I couldn’t workout, swim, or go out in the rain without an umbrella).
A few weeks before, I paid a grip to get my hair done for my birthday party. The lounge where we partied had a broken air conditioner, which was just bad business for DC in June. It was downright damp in that place and I my hair got bigger and bigger… by the end of the night, you couldn’t even tell I’d gotten my hair done. It was a total waste of money and I was pissed. The next day, I had to start all over again. It was nerve racking. And, more than anything, I just wanted to be free. Free to do anything and go anywhere and look the same coming out as I did going in. And, after I got over my initial shock of seeing my barely-there hair, that’s exactly what I felt! FREE.
All in all, cutting my hair was the best decision I ever made. I’ve only set foot in a salon once since I chopped (more on that later), and have been taking great pride in styling my hair myself, trying new things, getting to know my texture (I have like 5 spread throughout my head). And even *I* can’t deny that my hair has flourished. When it was relaxed, I could never get my hair to grow past my shoulders. Now, I can’t get my hair to STOP growing. Lol!
It’s been an uphill battle and some of it was ugly, but now things couldn’t be more beautiful. I love my natural hair. One year down, a lifetime to go!