In this guest contributor post, writer Tamika Burgess provides an update on her natural hair journey. Read her original post here -> The Reason I’m Going Natural: Transitioning From Relaxed to Natural Hair.
“Why are you taking so long to grow?!” I screamed while stretching strands of my hair toward my shoulder. I’ve been without a relaxer for a year and three months and I think I should be further along than I currently am. But thinking back over the past year, I am glad I stayed the course of this hair journey because there were plenty of times when “Going Natural” was confusing and overwhelming, and I wanted to give up.
Earlier in my process, Friday nights consisted of me sitting on my bed with my eyes glued to my computer screen. I frantically searched YouTube for natural hair bloggers and their transitioning hair videos. Click play, take notes, pause, take a picture of the product they held up, play some more, pause, and practice the protective style they demonstrated. I was obsessed.
I was spending money on different natural hair products while having no idea what they actually did for my hair texture. My twist-outs didn’t look right and sometimes my hair looked super dry. On other days it looked super oily when I overcompensated with coconut oil. But it mostly looked uncombed, and like I was in desperate need of a touch-up. And because I lived directly above a hair salon, I constantly fought the urge to slam the breaks on this journey and bring back some organization to my hair. But I continued on…
Every day was a constant struggle. My self-confidence was completely gone and I avoided mirrors like my life depended on it. I dreaded being invited anywhere. For a while I would go to work and directly back home, trying to avoid being seen, because I couldn’t help but think people were judging me because of how my hair looked.
This is when I actually understood what other Naturalistas meant when they said a hair journey is not just about the actual process of letting the relaxer grow out. I had to gather up the small pieces of what was left of my self-confidence and tell myself daily, “This is the path you set out on and you have to reach the destination.”
Things got a little better when I had box braids done in my hair. Those braids literally gave me life! They were a welcomed relief from constantly thinking about and messing with my hair.
About a month and a half later I took the braids out and started to see a real difference in my hair. My natural curl pattern had started peeking out and I was in love with what I saw. It was a small and simple, yet perfect reminder of why I was going through this process.
Like with everything in life, this too was and is still a lesson. By no means is my hair anywhere near done transitioning. But I am now okay with the process, but most importantly I am okay with how I look. Looking in the mirror is not a horrid experience anymore.
Nothing magical happened to change my perspective, all it took was time. Time for me to get used to seeing my hair and myself in a different way. Time to figure out that I needed to continue using products that have always worked in my hair. Time to find a style that works while my hair is growing out.
And time to realize I truly am not my hair—I have said this in the past, and have said it to other people. But there is absolutely nothing like having to put the saying into practice.
I also tell myself, “You are beautiful.”
Are you also on a natural hair journey? Tell yourself that you are beautiful. Repeat it until you believe it.
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