First of all, let me start by saying that this won't be one of those typical hair horror stories that most people who start their hair journeys have. So be prepared, there won't be any woes of over processed hair falling out into the stylist's hands or 3rd degree burns on my scalp. I've been very fortunate in the realm of hair possibilities, but as I've been taught, there's always room for improvements.
After being natural for most of my life, I got my first relaxer the summer before my senior year of high school. I wasn't facing pressure from family and friends, and I wasn't "hating" my natural hair, but I did feel that it was time to change up my look. I felt that at 16 years of age I shouldn't still be getting confused for a junior high school student (talk about annoying!) My aunt and my mother took me to her hair stylist, and as I sat in the chair I can remember feeling anxious but mostly excited. I had seen both ends of the relaxer spectrum--girls who had gotten it done and ended up with long, luxurious hair, and the less fortunate ones who were left with a dry brittle mess--and I was silently praying that I would end up in the first category. Looking back, I realize that I had slightly unrealistic expectations for this relaxer. Natural, my hair barely hit my shoulder when stretched, so I don't know how I expected to have hair running down my back simply by putting a chemical in it. Crazy, I know. Anyways, about 3 hours later, I was relaxed.
The first couple of months, everything seemed to be going great with my hair. I roller set or wrapped it every night, sleeping with a silk head tie on, and in the morning, I'd just comb it down and walk out the door. The convenience was amazing! I loved the feel of the wind blowing through my hair, and even more I loved whipping my hair side to side, just to feel the movement. Yeah, I looked a little crazy doing that all the time. My hair was growing steadily, and by March of my senior year, my hair was full shoulder length (the longest it had ever been). Needless to say, I was ecstatic! However, this is when the trouble began.
A "friend" of the family decided that my hair was okay, but I needed a flat iron to make sure that it look flawless at any and every moment, and she gifted me my first flat iron. After a few weeks of straightening my hair every day, I noticed that instead of looking sleeker, my hair just started to look more brittle and dry. And guess how I tried to remedy that? If you answered, 'straightening it some more' you are correct! Unfortunately, I didn't realize at the time that the flat iron was what was causing the damage until it was too late. By June, most of my hair was breaking, and in the beginning of my freshman year of college, the damage was so bad I had to cut all my hair off. Think Halle Berry's short cut. I know she rocks it something fierce, but it was completely devastating to me! Over the next couple years I still didn't learn my lesson and ended up cutting my hair to curtail the breakage twice. I needed help, but I didn't what to do or where to begin.
It was by chance that I stumbled on my first hair blog. I don't even remember how I got there, but I do know that I spent the rest of that night reading hair forums and blogs, and realizing that there were many other women out there just like me who had struggles with their hair, but had done something to improve it and were now rocking long, HEALTHY hair. It was in that moment, that I decided that if they could do it, so could I. I committed myself physically and mentally to doing my own healthy hair journey, went out to by some proper hair supplies and the rest, is history. I am currently 9 months into my HHJ, and although I still have a ways to go before I can reach my goal, I am proud to say that my hair is healthier, and my growth is definitely improving. I'm in this for the long haul, and I know that with a little determination, I'm gonna win this hair race more than just by a hair!