So I transitioned for 9 months; my last relaxer was June 1, 2013. My original plan was to transition for a year, then do a big chop. Clearly, I didn't make it lol. Months 1-3 weren't too bad because I had 3 layers of weave mixed in with my hair and I was just flat-ironing my roots (this was before I learned of the consequences of heat damage).
Month 4 was a bit awkward. I had just taken my weave out and had to manage my own hair with about 2.5 inches of new growth and about 12-13 inches of relaxed hair. For some reason, I had it in my mind that transitioning would be a piece of cake. When I first decided to go natural, my plan was to just cornrow my hair and wear it "wavy". To me, that sounded like a simple enough plan. I did this style often on my relaxed hair and it would last me a few days. Well, the keyword in that last sentence is "relaxed" hair. Don't get me wrong, my wavy hair or braid-out as it's called it in the natural community would look super-cute but it would only last for one single day. If I didn't braid it up again that second night, I could forget about getting a second day's wear out of that style.
Washed & Air-dried...Yikes! lol
So I did braid-outs for a few weeks and counted down the days until my birthday when I was planning to get some Marley Twists for my trip to Cancun. Months 5-6, I wore my Marley Twists. I was happy to have my hair in a Protective Style (styles that conceal the ends of the hair protecting them from damage caused by overexposure to the elements, friction, and environmental pollution) and not have to worry about styling it everyday; but as always with protective styling, I missed playing in my hair.
Marley Twists...loved the look but way too heavy and tight
Combing out my hair while dry after taking out my twists was a no no...lost A LOT of hair
So at month 6, I took my twists out and decided to have my hair cut into an angled bob to get those damaged ends off. This was the best and worst decision in my natural hair journey. It was the worst decision because it limited my styling options. The only style I could manage to turn out the way I wanted was a braid-out. It wasn't long enough for bantu knot-outs, a ponytail, or a bun; and twist-outs didn't blend my two textures well enough. I'm the type of person that likes to change my hair up a lot and wear different styles from day to day so I got bored with the braid-outs fast...not to mention I would get so sick of braiding my hair up almost every night to maintain the style.
About 6.5 months into my transition
Cutting my hair into the bob was also the best decision in my life because it forced me to explore natural hair websites and youtube video tutorials on natural hair care. I was amazed to find out how much information there is out there on natural and transitioning hair. The videos, blogs, & websites are so informative and the women are so positive and inspirational. I quickly became addicted to youtube...subscribing to everyone from naptural85 to mahoganycurls to beautifulbrwnbabydol to naturallynellzy...just to name a few lol. Although each of them has a different hair type, the information they share is still very helpful.
Just days before my big chop
The more I watched videos of women styling and rocking their TWA's and getting the nerve up to do their big chop, the more I wanted to big chop. During my 7th and 8th month of my transition, I was obsessed with my new growth. I couldn't keep my hands off of it. I loved the texture. It was so new to me. I began to despise my stringy relaxed hair and grew extremely impatient with wanting to see and feel my curls. I became extremely frustrated with trying to blend my two textures and though I wanted to wait until the weather warmed up, I couldn't take it anymore. With the inspiration from all these women online and full support from my husband, I decided to go ahead and big chop on Friday, February 28th (how ironic was it that this was the last day of Black History Month).
I can't lie, I felt a bit of sadness/anger in the chair while letting the stylist cut my relaxed hair off. I was pissed with my husband because he was late getting to the salon (I wanted him to video my cut), I was pissed with the stylist because I felt she was being rough with my hair and didn't really do as good of a job as I felt I would have done myself, I was pissed with myself for not just cutting it myself like I originally planned, and I was pissed at the world because I thought my new growth was going to be longer than it actually was and had no one else to blame lol. I don't know if I thought that when she cut the relaxed part off somehow my natural hair was going to magically grow into these long, beautiful, curly strands or what but I was sad, confused and didn't understand why. I fought back tears while under the dryer letting the protein treatment she slapped in my head dry, I couldn't wait to get out of there. When I got home, I rushed to my bathroom to slather on my deep conditioning treatment. I let it sit for a while under a shower cap, then rinsed it out. I felt so relieved to feel how soft my hair felt and see all the curls that I couldn't see at the salon. After the warmest embrace from my husband, hearing him rave about how much he loved my new hair, and spending a few minutes in the mirror, I was happy with my decision to big chop and knew that I did the right thing.
Come back soon for my next post..."How I Poo: My Wash Regimen & Other tips on maintaining healthy natural hair"