The #HealthyHairJourney is one of the most recognized tags in the world, right now. Everyone is embracing their natural hair or at least acknowledging those who have made the choice to take this journey. Earlier this year I celebrated my 13th-year relaxer free and 3rd year with limited heat. I’ve come to a very tricky fork in the road and the jury is still out with the verdict.
Start of the year, my hair was booming. Here it is after wash day in a flat twist. I noticed it was getting thicker and longer. No one had touched my hair since the cut I received in November. It was thriving and I was getting more excited about my next straightening and trim. Time got away from me and I felt I needed to hold on a little while longer to retain a few more inches. So, I decided to get some braids.
These felt comfortable. The 1st set of braids I kept for 3 weeks. On the next try, I called in the swift professionals at one of the local African braid shops. Morning after morning, I jumped up, got ready for work and made sure my scalp was oiled. I hadn’t had braids in a long time and I thought this would be the break I would need this year. This had to be the best protective style for me. My classic wig was starting to frustrate me – only because of its synthetic composition and the limited availability around town. In addition, during this time I discover my hair is officially BLACK in color. Not the same 1B it’s been my entire life. The 2nd set lasted for 6 weeks. I knew I needed to give my hair a break from this pulling of the braids. This was my hair after removal. I was in love.
I did a YouTube search to find alternative protective hair styles to reduce the stress on my strands. With an extra pack of braid hair on standby, I pulled off a high bun (but I didn’t get a picture). I wore that for about a week but something wasn’t right with my hair. It wasn’t performing as trained. It felt harsh but I wasn’t plucking the knots anymore. I knew I needed to get it trimmed. Two flat twists with braid hair bought me a little more time.
A subsequent wash day displayed some disturbing news. I found several patches of hair in my head that were the length of my pinky finger. WTF!? When did this happen? There were areas of my mane that are touching my chest, neck, and chin. My heart and spirit sank – NOT AGAIN. Let’s add this to the mix, I stopped taking the vitamins. I was under the impression they were the cause of an acne breakout on my face. I had no motivation to continue taking them. I started to look into a salon near me to assist in getting my hair diagnosed. My frustration with the possibilities was getting the best of me. I conceded to the defeat with more flat twists and the shit still wasn’t feeling right.
Can you see the difference from the beginning of the year? I’ll answer for you – YES! Even if you can’t just act like you can. 🙂 By the time of this picture, I had an appointment to get this shit resolved and see the true damages. Let me just tell you – I had a severe breakdown when I saw it up close. The hair was gorgeous in some areas and look like a rat had been chewing on it in others. I held the tears back but I knew what needed to be done. The truth of the matter is; I’d rather have healthy hair over long hair. I ran my fingers through my tresses one last time and in one stoic breath I said: “cut it.”
Now, I’m back to the drawing board. I’m not completely warmed up to this idea of entering salon life, again. In this first week, has been so conflicting. I miss my coils, curls, and the fullness of my hair in its natural state. However, on the other hand, I like running my fingers and feeling the wind blow through it. The compliments have helped immensely. I hate this happened but I’m glad I’m strong enough to know when to let go. More than anything else – I still had my edges!
I know what my signature look is and I’m going to achieve it. The vitamins may get thrown back into the mix. It looks like I need to go back to my old ways – mixing my hair products and staying on schedule. Another old friend will be making a few appearances. Can you guess who it might be? I know it’s just hair to some of you – to me, it’s another accessory to set your look apart from the rest. Staying focused is the name of the game. The rules might change but who’s going to judge me. This one head of hair is a small portion of my own happiness – I don’t care what India Arie says. LOL 😉