Today (February 6) is my one-year naturalversary. Hurray! I can’t believe I made it! The last 12 months went by so quickly. I made some mistakes, experienced a few setbacks, but I also had some amazing triumphs as well. Here’s a review of how my first year as a natural went down …
MY UNPLANNED “BIG CHOP”
It all started on Friday, January 11, 2013. After a traumatizing experience with a dry shampoo, I had my mom cut my hair. I originally had intended to transition for at least 12 months but, sometimes, life happens and change becomes inevitable. My mom cut off eight inches of my 12″ hair. Three-and-a-half weeks later, I cut off the remaining relaxed ends. I was left with only only 2.5″ – 3.0″ of hair after transitioning for six months. So much for long-term transitioning. LOL!
Even though my hair grew a full inch in only a month’s time, my hair had never been this short before. And, truth be told, I really did not know what to do with it. To make matters worse, some of my family members DID NOT like my new short do and did not mind letting me know! My confidence plummeted, so I bought a wig. After a while, though, I got tired of (and too hot while) wearing it (think 90 degrees in April), so I decided that it was time to embrace all of me, including my new short hair. I wrote a letter to my TWA to boost my confidence and to let other new naturals know they were not alone, but I still struggled with wearing my natural hair outside of my home.
MONTHS #2, #3, and #4
While researching how to style my super short hair, I came across colouredBeautiful’s YouTube video on how she defined her curls on her own short mane. Her hair looked fabulous! I finally started to believe that maybe mine could, too! Her video gave me the jumpstart I needed to style my own short locks and the self-esteem to actually wear it “out” in public. The first few times I wore my finger coiled hair in public, I felt like everyone was staring at me and snickering amongst themselves about my hair. Maybe it was my imagination, or perhaps they genuinely thought I looked foolish. Who knows! Nevertheless, slowly but surely, I decided to ignore the noise (real or imagined) and found my confidence again.
However, I still had a long way to go to figuring out how to maintain my natural hair. My hair only grew 0.75″ over three months (0.25″ a month). I learned very quickly that even though my hair was short, I wasn’t moisturizing it enough. My dry, thirsty tresses were dehydrated but still managed to grow despite my hair care ignorance. I did more research about how to take care of my natural hair and decided that I had better create and implement a hair care regimen.
MONTHS #5, #6, and #7
I found an answer to prayer! I discovered the baggy method and the Green House Effect as viable techniques to moisturize my dry hair. My hair grew 1.75″ over three months! I finally seemed to have reversed my parched strands.
MONTH #8 (Setback #1: Breakage from Stress)
I experienced my first genuine setback when my mom’s health momentarily declined, and I inadvertently started to neglect my hair. I lost a month’s worth of length (a 1/2″) as a result.
MONTHS #9 & #10
I quickly bounded back and my hair grew … and grew. Everything was sunshine and rainbows … until it wasn’t!
MONTH #11 (Setback #2: The Single Strand Knot)
After wearing wash ‘n gos non-stop for almost three months, it finally happened … my second setback! My ends were covered with SSKs! Although I attempted to use a needle to untie each knot, the diameter of each of my strands is just too fine, and the task proved virtually impossible. So, I ended up lopping off a 1/2″ of my length to prevent split ends and further damage to my hair. Sigh.
I finally had an epiphany and went back to the basics of moisturizing and sealing my hair every night. Sometimes even twice a day. Whenever I don’t moisturize my hair enough, my hair rebels, and I pay for it in the end by having to sacrifice length.
HAIR REPORT CARD
My hair grew a total of 7.5″ over 12 months, but I only retained 6.50″. Extremely dry hair contributed to three months of slow growth (only a ¼” a month for three months). I lost a ½” of my length due to breakage from stress and another ½” after enduring an extreme case of SSKs. On the whole, even though I experienced lots of ups and downs, I learned a great deal about my hair. All of my setbacks were (ahem) self-inflicted and predominately a result of my failure to properly moisturize my hair. My ending length? 9.50″. Here’s to wiser hair care in 2014 …
Do you have a naturalversary coming up? If so, congrats!