I have gone natural now nearly a year. One of my oldest friend has been natural for couple of years now. However, people forget that I went natural for years when I lived in California. I just never wore it out. Kept it in braids mostly. I was very insecure about how my natural hair looked then.
You grow up and all around you people tell you that your natural hair is ugly, you begin to believe the hype. I would've described my hair as straight off the boat from Africa in my past. My parents both have hair that are mixed with some Spanish hair so it behaves very differently than mine. My brother also has my type of hair. Him, being a boy, cuts it in a short Caesar. I don't like my hair short. Not because of some society rules, but because I have experienced it. Short hair requires more work unless you get a Caesar. I don't like messing with my hair.
So for years I was ashamed of my hair. I constantly had it hidden. I didn't know how to style hair. When I moved back to NY, I fund a perm that was supposedly plant based; phytospecific. My hair took to it really well. It kept my hair straight longer and my edges didn't revert as fast. I tried to style the hair, but I ended up just attempting to put a pony tail in it using pieces. My hair wasn't very long. It didn't grow any longer either. So what I did was just perm my hair then braid it. It was much easier. But it was not healthy. My hair broke more often than not.
I made a deal with myself. I would go natural after I get married. I wanted everything to be perfect for my wedding. I didn't want any curly edges. For my wedding I got this beautiful, soft human hair braids. They lasted thru my wedding great, but it didn't last thru my honeymoon. I came home with 1/4 of the braids intact. The minute I got my hair wet it was a wrap. Hair was falling out as I walked around the resort. It was so embarrassing. When I got home I was a bit miffed. I paid a good penny for the hair and the service and it only lasted 2 1/2 weeks!!!! Issue the decision then that I am spending way too much in getting my hair done. For what?
I was a bit nervous how my husband would react to my natural hair. He said he didn't mind me going natural. He said I am beautiful regardless how I have my hair. So I started to braid my hair more so I could grow out the perm.
When I reached 2 inches of natural hair, I truely saw my hair pattern. It wasn't as bad as I remembered it in the past. It is still a thick as can be and tightly coiled. So I decided to try to wear my hair out naturally. I then started having serious tangling issues with the 2 types of hair on my head. The permed edges tangled so badly that I would lose chunks of hair. The natural hair didn't tangle. I was getting frustrated and turned to friends, mom and the web for help; especially curlynikki.com.
One co-worker suggested a beautician she goes to. I went there and had the courage to just chop off the perm. To me it was a big step because I planned to cut at a length where I can put my hair in a ponytail. I cut it when my hair was 2 inches or so unstretched. Since the chop, my hair does not tangle a lot. It barely does. I would have had to mingle a lot in my hair to get it tangled. I do shed like normal which bothers me. Because the shedding is in tight coils instead of strands. So it's annoying seeing them around or stuck to me husband. At first I thought it was breakage but I had my hair looked at and it's in good health. I keep my hair moisturized.
What I like is that I have a lot of people around me who supports my natural hair journey. People at work are encouraging and will talk about my coils with respect. They don't tease me; calling my hair nappy or the like. Half of the people don't really give a shit. Only person that I will have to conquer is my father. My dad grew up in the glamorous era. He believes in long straight hair. He hasn't seen me natural since I was a kid. He hates braids and dreads too. However, I got him to tolerate braids with the threat of going dread. However, I'm sure he'll adapt.
What I can say about my journey so far is that it is one and I am happy that I am making it. My wallet is equally happy.