One piece of sound advice that is consistent among the natural hair boards is to photograph your hair journey. It helps you in remembering where you were and where you’re going. With six months of transitioning, there aren’t too many pictures that truly capture what has happened to my hair; there are no pictures that capture what has happened to me. As I said in an earlier hair journey post, dealing with 2-textures of hair (at least) is one thing. But the term “transitioning,” at least for me, has had far more to do with the psychological changes that occurred in order for me to embrace what God gave me, and to let go of what societal norms say that I should have in order to be beautiful. And that statement says a mouthful about where I’ve been for the last 30 years.
This is a shot of me right before I made the decision to go natural. I took great pride in my shoulder length tresses, and the fact that my hair didn’t necessarily need rolling each night. I’d tie it back into a twisted bun, wake up the next morning and go. If necessary, I’d bump the curls with my flat iron. Right there was the problem. You can’t see in this picture what was happening to my brittle ends, or the dime-sized small spots on either temple where the hair wouldn’t grow. You don’t get the full “flavor” of how thin and fragile this hair is, nor do you see from my smile the chemical burns that increasingly framed my hairline, no matter how much water I drank. And that necessary-means-to-an-end mentality kept me in a stylist’s chair getting my hair chemically straightened since my early teens.
Once I decided to transition, this shot was my first no-heat style, commonly called a braid-out. This is still pretty much my permed hair, just styled differently. The kids took this picture about 1 month after the previous shot. I was so encouraged that I could do this and love my new hair, so much so that this shot became my new avatar!
There was one huge adjustment that I had to make to my routine, though, in order to get this look: rollers. Each night, I had to sleep on rollers in order to give my hair the curls on the bottom of this. After years of going roller-free, my sleep was uncomfortable, to say the least. So I decided to give the 2-stranded twists a try–no rollers, and, I thought, it would give me the same look. Boy, was I wrong.
Talk about a wake-up call–where’s the fluffiness? Where’s the curl? I felt like one of our daughters with this style (I probably looked like one of them, too). So, I waited another month and allowed more new growth to come in, which, because the new hair is thicker, would give me more volume. Here’s that same look (twists untwisted) in April. It is also my first experience with self-photography (lol).
Volume, but no real shape. Definitely a work in progress. With another month under my belt, and more research via the photo journals of others, I finally came up with this.
Dawn calls these my ‘sassy, wavy tresses.’ I love that, because, as you can see, I’ve had many “unsassy” days. When I finger-combed this out, I said to the kids, “Get the camera! Get the camera!” They laugh at me with the photo journal because I’ve often considered myself quite unphotogenic. It’s not a statement of low self-esteem; some people just don’t take pictures well, you know? At any rate, I’ve stuck with my sassy tresses for about a month now, and I look forward to seeing what else I can experiment with as the new hair grows.
Ah, the new hair. I’ve been thinking about next month’s “chapter,” in which I’ll focus on the 2 textures of hair and trying to manage them. For right now, this is a shot of my 2 textures in March. I had about 1-1/2 inches of new growth (the curlier hair at the root).
This is my new new growth as of a couple of weeks ago. I have somewhere between 2-3 inches of new hair. You can see that the new hair is thicker and wavier, and yes, that is my natural color. The hairline is more gray than reddish-brown, but that’s a consideration for another time (smile).
While I wait, I have much to smile about. My hair is growing, and what is coming in is much healthier than what I periodically chop off. I look forward to seeing what my hair will look like at the point of my 12-month, no heat, no perm anniversary.