Senior year of high school I cut my hair short once more. It just seemed as though my hair would not grow and would never have any semblance of body otherwise. My hair was always bone straight after a relaxer; even if I kept it in for just a little while. Relaxing was such a pain. The flaky scalp and shedding hair was annoying and I didn’t have the patience or dedication to go to the salon once a week. I seriously needed a change.
Coming this far, I’m not sure what the catalyst was in my decision to go natural. I can’t recall if it was something I read or just my frustration with relaxed hair. I hated braids, was too lazy to style weave and so I began to to grow out my hair. It was May 2002 when I had my last relaxer. After that I would straighten my roots with a hot curler or flat iron and would wear transitional hairstyles. I typically wore an extension ponytail or kept my hair wrapped up. I even went back to braids. But it was different this time because wet and wavy was the style. It was more grown up and trendy. I probably did that twice. It was just too much work to get them done and to take them out. The braids would also break my hair off when I took them out.
Each time I washed my hair I would cut off some of the processed parts. Finally, when I was satisfied that I cut off practically all of the straight parts, I began wearing it out with a head band. This took a lot of courage for me to do because I wasn’t used to it at all. I wasn’t used to seeing other people do it either. Relaxing hair was such a staple in my upbringing that it was just plain weird having my hair out in it’s natural, unprocessed state.
In January 2003 I moved from upstate New York to back home in NYC. I began wearing my hair in kinky twists. They were perfect for me because they had a very natural look and were easier on my hair than braids were. It was a pricey hairstyle for my broke student pockets at the time, but my hair had to be done. I would also experiment with my natural hair in between hair salon visits. I would blow it out and then kinky twist it with loc and twist gel. I was always experimenting with new products but I wasn’t familiar with the texture of my hair so I really wasn’t sure what to do. It seemed like tending to my natural hair was a lot more work than my relaxed hair.
I was also nervous to go on job interviews with my natural hair because I had heard stories of discrimination, so I had made sure to have my hair done when I went on them. I loved my hairstyle but I wasn’t crazy about not being able to be the me I was trying to be. I wore my hair predominantly twisted from 2003-2006. The kinky twist style pretty much synonymous with me in the eyes of my family and friends. It was the hairstyle I had when I met my husband. He loved it. He knew I had unprocessed hair and I would wear my hair out in between salon visits. Once I got pregnant, I could no longer sit for 6 hours to get the style done and I didn’t have the patience or energy to take the twists out. I had cornrows for the majority of my pregnancy. After I had my children I was so used to not going to the salon that I just kept my hair wrapped up, and then I just went back to experimenting with my own hair.
He hated it.