My story is not unlike many others. I didn’t have a relaxer for years. I coveted hair like the ladies on TV, so I would put a pillow case or towel on my head and pretend my hair was long and luxurious. My own hair was medium length and very thick. However, my mother (a hair dresser) would hot comb my hair religiously, like most mothers did at that time. I begged my mother for a relaxer at the age of twelve, because all my friends had one. She finally gave in and that is when my hair started to decline in thickness and length, especially when I started to do my own hair. I was applying to much heat to get it bone straight every day. If I wasn’t applying heat, I would just stick in a ponytail. I never thought that the relaxer was the problem. I tried wrapping my hair at night and protective styles (which by the way didn’t last long because of my dry scalp). Most of the time the protective styles just itched after a couple of days.
So, in high school I decided to go for the hairstyle that lots of women had in the 90’s, a short bob. It was cute. I didn’t have to worry about dry scalp because I washed it 2-3 times a week and I always kept it cut. Therefore, I didn’t worry about length. So I thought short hair was suited best for me. By the time I was in my second year of college, I needed a change. What was I to do? The bob was no longer fashionable. So I would grow it long….right? Wrong! Every time I got a nice length to my hair it would fall out after a relaxer, or heat or color or the combination of the three. In the meantime, my mother was trying to convince me that my own hair wasn’t as bad as I though it was.
In December 2004, my mother finally convinced me to first try to go as long as I could without getting a relaxer. She said that it was best for my hair. Once I had about two inches of new growth, I found out my hair was actually curly!! So I said bye bye to relaxers forever. My hair was once again thick and gaining in length. However, for about five years, I had no idea what to do with my hair (other than straighten it and wear ponytails in the summer). I was introduced to the curly girl method from some inspirational youtubers. I went out and bought the book and tried it. FINALLY, I found something that works for me!! Now, rock my curls all the time. As a mom, I hope that being natural will inspire my 15 year old daughter to be comfortable enough with herself and go natural one day. As an elementary school teacher, I hope that my hair will inspire my students to be themselves and love who they are.