Am I possibly transitioning for all the wrong reasons?

hi, Im currently 18 years old and am going through my first year of college now. I am relaxed and have been since I was probably 10. I was one of those little girls who had long natural hair, but when I got it permed I was not able to get it past arm pit length. Granted it's never been shorter than shoulder length and It's always been thick and big even in its permed state. The reason why I have been debating on going natural is because my sister has been for the past two years and I absolutely love her hair. I find it fascinating and adorable in a way. However the only thing she ever does with it is braid it and has no desire to try anything else. She has mostly 4a and 4b textured hair however she does have some 3c sprinkled around the nape of her neck. My mom says that my hair was similar to hers except a little less thick and more soft. Despite my love for her hair I don't think I could do an Afro. For one I'm honestly so scared about what little friends I do have will think and I've never been one to like attention for anything. For so long I've been looked at by them as being one of the few "exceptions" to my race, because I do not act like the supposed "stereotypical African American". I'm much more quiet and reserved in nature and I've never really fit in amongst people in my race. I do find my self favoring 3c/3b hair textures and I think I might be a little too devastated if my hair doesn't end up looking somewhat remotely like that. I'm ashamed of my thought process, but I know little else way to change it honestly. But despite all of that I'm still leaning toward the direction of transitioning because I need something new and different to try with my hair. I like what my permed hair can do, but I'm finding I like curls more than I do straight hair. I already don't use Heat very often just to keep my hair the length it is, and I've already tried a braid out, Bantu knots, curl formers, perm rods, hot rollers, and even flexi rods. But none of it is good enough. I would even love to try some color, but I already know that would be the kiss of death for my hair in its current state. I hate braids so much, actually I hate any kind of hair extensions, weave, wigs all of it. I rather like my scalp to be free. My mom however doesn't think I could properly take care of my natural hair and she already knows Its Afro textured. She doesn't agree with my desicion at all, and sadly I somewhat agree with her.I honestly just want to be able to embrace the natural texture that I do have because it's what God gave me, but I'm so scared that I won't be able to. I'm so used to my hair permed that to just lose it all in one go is making think that transitioning isn't for me after all. So despite all of that would it still be a good idea for me to transition?

4 Answers

What an exciting time!! I think embracing what God gave you might be a fun change as you spread your wings in college. If you don't like it change it. You will never know how fabulous, curly and fun it could be if you never try!  Change can be scary and uncomfortable but I think in your spirit you are feeling the tugging. Developing your independence is about learning to hear your inner voice and trust it! Your true friends will love and support you and if not you will look back and realize the depth (or lack there of) of your friendship.  Caring for your natural hair doesn't have to be complicated. Its all about the right products (I believe in sulfate and silicone free as in the Curly Girl Method -you can look it up here on NC). It can take a little bit of time to fully learn what your hair likes and doesn't but once you do, it's so much easier. (I keep a little notepad about what I use in my hair to help see what it likes/doesn't like). And it's not a one size fits all approach. If it works for a friend it may or may not work for you. The right hair will only empower you and add to your confidence and sense of self. True friends of every color will love you and your hair whatever the state! I say take the leap and learn to love and rock your curls. In the end....it's hair it can be changed and it will grow! Be blessed.
I'm gonna be honest...when I first started reading this, I could've sworn I had written it myself because it was/is exactly the situation I've been playing around in, give or take a few details - mainly that my family and most of my friends have been pretty supportive and I'm completely (dark skinned) Hispanic. Other than that, It's pretty much identical. Currently, I'm in my 11th month of transitioning and it kind of seems me and your sister may have the around the same hair type. At first, I was kind of bummed, but the more my hair grows and the more I see my curls, the more I am so sure that I'm never ever going to relax my hair again (at the beginning of my transition, that's definitely not something I would've said if someone had told me that would be my hair type....especially cause my relaxed hair was thriving at the time). That's probably the biggest benefit of transitioning... it's great for getting you to love your own hair and the longer your transition is, the more I think the devastation wears away. I mean, I still have much love for 3b/3c hairstyles and it's sometimes it's hard not to feel a little jealous - especially since my friend and my cousin who are transitioning too seems to be in that range - but, even then, I still can't never get the temptation to relax my hair again. Plus, once you start looking around, the 4a/4b hairstyles are pretty freaking stunning. Plus, care doesn't have to be hard - there are cheap products on the market and DIYing to be done! Personally, I'm a product junkie & DIY novice in the making , but I still find that I can use the exact same products that I used while relaxed. Main suggestions: I don't think you could go wrong with the LOC method, switch to a sulfate free shampoo ( Shea Moisture JBCO shampoo is amazing), get some deep conditioner, and try cowashing more often. As for your friends and mom....well..... not to get all up-ity or whatever, but you're friends sound kind of racist. I even get what you're saying in this regard since some of my "friends by association" say some of the same stuff - sometimes about me and being Hispanic, sometimes about me and being black (because dark skin gives you some kind of honorary culture card, apparently). The truth is.... I can't imagine those being the kind of people that you should have at the front and center of your life. Personally, I would - and do - find it pretty insulting that your friends would categorize your whole race by what they think they behave like and then tell you that you're okay because your, presumably, act more like them. I mean, what would they say about you if you did decide to "be loud" one day? Would they drop you then? Would they actually unfriend you for wanting to wear your hair the way it grows out of your head? Because I'm not sure "Don't be yourself" is something that ANYONE should have to keep in mind when they think about their friendships. Frankly, if your natural hair makes you somehow "more African American"  and that makes these "friends" uncomfortable.... you should probably tell them to sign up for a diversity and equality class and peace out. As for your mom... you can't exactly peace out on her lol but I suggest telling her how her lack of faith makes you feel. If she still tells you that she doesn't think you can do it, while support is helpful, it isn't 100%  necessary for appropriate transitioning (plus there's all of NaturallyCurly and BGLH to help you out! - also, I'd hope, your sister). I'd say try to make the sadness/anger that comes from her lack of support into your motivation to prove her wrong.As to your specific question of transitioning and the end result, the short answer is: Do it. My reasoning? You're never ever gonna know what you're missing until you do it. Also, while maybe not the most favorable suggestion, if it it really really makes you feel uncomfortable.... you could probably just relax or texturize (to try and get that 3b/3c texture) your hair after seeing what it would look like natural.
Hi newbie here but thought I'd throw in my opinion if it at all helps. The first thing I have to tell you is that you have to ignore what other people think and will think. That includes your mother and your friends. My mother was the one always pushing her curly hair opinions onto me and I regret taking her opinion to heart because at the end of the day it's MY hair, and it's YOUR hair. Going curly is a big responsibility but you seem mature and intelligent enough to research and make the switch. You are completely capable of going natural, it just takes some time and patience but you CAN do it. You can't grow wings and fly but you can go natural :-) As for your friends, if the texture of your hair is enough to make them cut ties with you then consider yourself lucky! You were able to end friendships with ignorant people. And you should never think of yourself as an "exception". Never allow yourself to believe that you're below someone or that you should feel lucky to be friends with someone. I'm Latina-American living in Germany and I've had many people tell me "wow you don't act like a typical foreigner I don't usually befriend them but I'll make an exception for you". Nope nope nope. Just no. And don't feel like you have to act or be a certain way in order to keep those friendships. I just wanted to clear that up I hope I was able to properly tell you what I wanted to my English is rusty *hugs* you are a good person, you're intelligent, and 100% not defined by the texture of your hair. Your hair and the way you choose to style it is 100% your choice and you shouldn't allow anyone to sway you. Next topic, hair texture. Your hair is the crown on your beautiful head. When God made you, he made your texture. If God wanted everyone with straight and 3B/3C hair he would've done so. But he didn't he made you with whatever texture you have. When I started taking care of my hair it was heat damaged to death. It was around a 2a and I was so obsessed with having a hair texture the closest to straight that I was lying to myself. I've started taking better care of my hair and I'm now easily in the 2C/3A area so I get what you mean. Being internally disappointed your hair is a certain texture. I get it. Been there girl and I want to give you a big virtual hug but I'm telling you you will one day learn to love and accept your hair. It's different for everyone but I promise you you will. When I was growing up straight hair was in, that was the only beautiful hair. Now in 2015 we are seeing this movement of curly hair and now certain curl textures are being seen as the best. Trends will change, and in a few years big butts may be out of style and who knows waves or Afros may come into style but we don't know that. Don't allow the mainstream to influence you on what is beautiful because they don't even know what's beautiful. Learn to love yourself the way you are and I guarantee you'll be happy. Growing up my big hips were ugly and now they are in who understands trends anyways LOL! I'm sorry if my response is so long, I just read your post and it struck something in my heart. My sister has a texture that I deemed beautiful because it was straight/wavy and I know how hard it is to compare. My mom to this day says I look polished with straight hair and doesn't embrace my curls too much but that's okay because I love them and so does my husband :-). And I do not want you to get it wrong, you are still a wonderful person if at the end of the day you decide you want to maintain your straightened hair. It just sounds like you are wanting to go natural but are scared of the social repercussions. It is a journey, a fun, confusing, frustrating, and happy one but if you are interested try it. My theory is if you hate it you can always go back to straight hair, you really don't lose anything by trying. I'm also somewhat shy and I live in an area full of Germans with super straight hair. I've had certain people look at my hair confused and I've had others want to touch it and they adore it. If anything my curls have given me this confidence, I walk with my head higher and my back straightened. On a side note, you could the juiciest peach and there would still be someone out there who doesn't like peaches. Remember that ;-). You can also instead of a big chop transition there are so many informative articles and YT videos. I hope my answer wasn't too long and I hope I was able to help sorry for typos I'm on my phone xo God Bless!
"For so long I've been looked at by them as being one of the few "exceptions" to my race, because I do not act like the supposed "stereotypical African American". I'm much more quiet and reserved in nature and I've never really fit in amongst people in my race. I do find my self favoring 3c/3b hair textures and I think I might be a little too devastated if my hair doesn't end up looking somewhat remotely like that. I'm ashamed of my thought process, but I know little else way to change it honestly."I think the issue is far deeper than hair.