I was 15 when I decided to let my perm grow out. At the time, i was the only girl in my school who was going through the transition. I never big chopped my hair, because my hair had been so damaged before the transition, that I had to get it cut and trimmed quite often and I desperately wanted my hair to grow. So I "suffered" through the transition without cutting it further. Before when I wore my hair straight and permed all the time, I would get plenty of compliments , but when I started wearing it curly, the amount of compliments were few if any. Whenever I chose to wear it curly, I would always have this one style where I pinned it under so my straight ends wouldn't show. My hair was frustrating to deal with, and the amount of strange looks and sly insults I got was ridiculous. "Your hair is so...you really need a perm"" How do you manage all that hair, girl? You really need a perm."hearing these comments hurt, and often I cried and considered getting a perm again. At 15, I was already socially impaired, and all I wanted to do was fit in, but having my hair the way it was made that very difficult. Wearing my hair curly went against all the rules that some of us were taught: you know the If-it's-not-straight-and-'neat'-then-it's-not-acceptable type of rules that many of us were forced or conditioned to believe when we were younger. The battle between you, your mom, and the hot comb, the first time you felt the burning or itching sensation when you first got a perm- these were just some of the things I thought i had to suffer through to be accepted by my peers, and it's something that has been passed down through generations. I should know, because when my grandmother first heard about me transitioning, she thought I was "knotty-headed" and she frowned disapprovingly. This hurt a little bit, because, when you can't depend on others to support you, you can always count on family right? Well, it was hard for me to gain support right away from my grandmother and other family members for this journey that was so important to me, but my mother decided to transition a few months after I did. Ever since I made the decision to transition, I've learned so much about my natural hair: from how much moisture it needs to different hairstyles and products [Shea Moisture ;) ] that work well with my hair type, I've learned to love my hair for what it is: an extension of who I am- uniquely wonderful in every way. It's been three years and a few months since I first transitioned, and I love my hair more and more everyday. And as for acceptance, I've learned to accept MYSELF for who I am and not look to others for validation.