I'm in the same boat but I after reading all the replies... I'm sure this is what is going on with mine... I too looked at old pics of me. In college I had waist length hair! I don't recall getting frequent trims. Maybe only once a year.
Then YEARS later, I got it cut short and kept up with trims every 8 weeks. I also told people, my hair won't grow past the length that it's at - above shoulder length. BUT, I was getting a typical trim. Where they wet hair down and pull it straight and take off a half inch. DUH! There goes any growith. I had my hair lightened last summer and my hair does grow because the root grew back very dark. I got about a half inch growth a month. But no length because of the trims.
I found a pic of me from about 3 years ago where my hair was getting length. I was going to a stylist who cut like the devachan trims -- she just sculpted the curls. I was getting disappointed in her cutting because I felt the sides and top were getting too heavy and I couldn't talk her into giving me shorter layers so.... I go to a typical salon and they really butchered my hair!
I had VERY short layers (like I asked) but my hair is fine and thin and I looked like I had very little hair. I cried for days over that one!
I haven't been happy with my hair for the past year and I finally found another stylist who trained with Lorraine at Devachan and she explained to me what she has planned for me. I went in for a trim and she sculpted the curls a bit but didn't do the typical trim.
She told me that I need to be patient and wait it out. I need to allow these shorter layers grow out. Once everything has grown out, then she can re-shape everything to the shape that I want. I'm in the horrible stage right now. I HATE my hair! I've got an appointment on Thurs. afternoon with her because the back of my hair comes to a point - much longer in the back than the sides and I feel like I have a mullet
I want to ask her if she can possibly just cut the back shorter to match up a little bit more.
I'm taking her a picture of me when I was getting my hair cut by the last devachan stylist. Because that's how I want my hair to look eventually. BUT, with a few more layers.
Did I just get off subject?? LOL.
I know my hair can grow length because I have the pics from only a few years back. I think it's very important to find a CURLY stylist tho.
Because they know that curlies need sculpting rather than the typical cut/trim that straighties get.
I called Aveda and asked if they had a curly stylist and I get this everytime I call anywhere because they want the business - so they lie. They said, "oh yes, that would be so and so. She knows curly hair." Yeah, right

I learned my lesson on that one. I've fallen for that before and they wet my hair down, stretch it out and cut like straight hair!! UGH.

Natural hair color - dark brunette
Fine, thinish hair/3a, 3b