Hair growth and length with curly hair can be deceiving because of shrinkage. People think my hair is shoulder when it's actually BSL. Also usually unless there is a medical condition like alopecia areata which I have, the hair is growing. What it may be is that the you're not retaining growth bc either the ends break or become split and raggedy and have to be cut off. That is why you have to baby your ends. A little oil or butter on the ends helps. A lot of people do protective styles like buns or braids to "protect" their ends. Satin pillowcases or bonnets reduce friction while sleeping. Hair friction againt clothing can also be damaging.
Yes, it's real. No, you can't touch it.