I want to take the time out to thank my co-worker for asking me this question. My co-worker is natural, but we talk about hair and products all the time. I try not to talk to much about natural hair with natural people, because honestly, I believe that we (as hair types) would not understand each other and why we do certain things. Like I do not understand why she hasn't used shampoo in years. She doesn't understand why I would go so long with a relaxer (stretch); I might as well finish going natural. LOL. It is never any hard feelings, because I love to talk about hair. She does too, but she didn't want to seem hair obsessed. Girl, Please!!! I have been hair obsessed since I started this while ride I call my HHJ. I was explaining to her that I am involved on hair boards and blogs, and that I have my own blog that I rant about my findings and misfindings about hair, products, techniques, reviews, etc. Well, she asked a question that really struck a nerve with me. Well, let me clarify. She asked a question that was an extremely touchy subject for me at one part of my life. But, I put my big girl britches on, and I got over it. So, here I am, giving you a look into that conversation, and to paint this horrible picture that I called me struggle, lol.
Her question was, SO YOU ARE ON A HHJ NOW, BUT HOW WAS IT LIKE BEFORE, DURING AND AFTER YOU INITIAL START?
This is going to be a wordy blog, so if you have something to do, come back when you have alittle time. Lol! I am going to tell you my story first before I tell you my response to her.
Let me go back as far as elementary school. My mother did not know how to come hair, so I was forced at a very young age how to put my hair into ponytails. My mother was a big fan of bangs, So I had to have bangs in every hairstyle. My mother only hair curlers and rollers, so there were no such thing as flat bangs in my house. So, I was forced the rock the big poofy bangs to school. I had all of this poofy hair and these big bangs; it was like being a walking target. I was picked on for my hair everyday. I would come home crying and my mother would say that infamous line, "They are jealous of you hair." RIGHT! I couldn't believe that someone would make you feel that bad about yourself because they were jealous. I mean, come on! Where do they do that at? Lol. In middle school, my mother let my straighten my hair with hot combs. So, I was this natural-hair girl with this big, massive cape of hair behind her. At this point, I was about WL. I was teased about coming to school looking so homeless with my hair like that. Really, homeless? I don't know where it came from but it made me upset. Now that I think about it, why didn't my mother just ever put my hair into a big ball. I bet that would have been cute. But back to the point, let me take you away from school and into my homelife. My father's mother is white. She married a black man and they have three mixed children: two girls and a boy. The boy is my father. Only one sister had a daughter, and boy was my older cousin kept up. She always had very nice clothes on. She always had her hair so pretty. The family doted on her. But here I was, that side of the family did not dote on me like they did her. And that was fine. I wasn't into all of that cute this and pretty that. Soon, my dad's family became very hurtful. They were almost as bad as the people I had to deal with at school. They would talk bad about me and my hair, to my face. It was worse than anything I ever experienced in school. One day during these times, my older cousin and I went to stay with sister with no daughter. She told me that She wanted to take US to the hair salon and the THREE of us would get our hair done. Well, they got their hair done, and I was the purse watcher. It felt so bad to sit there, thinking that I was going to share in the spa experience, only to be let down. Then later, my aunt would tell me that she did not think that I would have appreciated it because I let myself look so disheveled all of the time. o_O Things like this follow you for life, you feel me?
Fast foward into high school days, I got a part time job working with my uncle in his little store. So, he would pay me alittle money on the side. I would save that money and finally was getting my hair done by a professional. It was a wonderful feeling. At this point, this was not my first time going to a salon, but it was the first time that I was calling all of the shots. I was going to the salon once a month, and I was feeling pretty good about myself when I was coming out. My hair was looking good. I was paying for it to be done. By me doing all of this, I was cutting down MOST of the bullying that was going on. You know they will always be some naysayers and salt throwers, lol. But nevertheless, I was feeling good. In high school, I was getting compared to my cousin mighty hard then. I was getting sick of it. Both of us had very long hair, my hair was actually longer than hers. BUT I was still getting compared to here, like I had no name, like I had no personality of my own. So One day, I went to the salon for one of those monthly trips and asked her to cut my WL hair to NL! She did not want to do it. She actually cried cutting my hair. But when my hair was falling onto the floor, I felt like I was finally emerging as my own person. There would be no more comparison, right? Sure, I would be known as the fool who cut all of her hair off, but at least the name they would give me would be one of my own, and not "That's so-and-so's cousin. She tries so much to be like her."
I graduated high school with relaxed, APL hair. During my senior year, the bullying was not so bad. By this time, I was learning how to do a few bun tricks that really saved me for weeks on end without washing and styling and applying heat. I even cut down my visits to the salon about four a year that year. So graduation was in 2006. Skip ahead to December 2008, I decided after watching alot of videos on HHJs, it was time for me to whip my hair back into shape. So on December 8th, I was officially obsessed with my hair. As far as who knows about my obsession, only my mom knows to the full extent. Everyone just does not know. When I first started, I went and bought a lot of products to try. My mom was so against it. She told me that my hair was going to fall out because I was putting too much in my hair and that I wasn't getting a relaxer regularly. But I had faith in the videos. Also, I am in the business of proving people wrong. So I had to prove my mom wrong. The first year of my HHJ, my hair did not flourish. I was disappointed, until someone told me that my hair looked very thick. So, I picked myself back up and worked alittle harder. 2010 came and my hair was starting to show alot of progress. At this time, my mom was taking notes and wanted me to help her with her from that point on. I took that as the white flag of surrender. I had proved my mom wrong. It was exciting, but that wasn't my mission. Deep down, my mission was to grow beautiful, healthy, long hair. In the back of my mind, I also wanted to show my grandmother and my aunts on my father's side that my hair can be awesome, too. Well, come 2011, my hair is thick and falling down my back. Here came the infamous "weave-checks." I got weave-checked by those three so many times, that I have lost count. At first, I was really offended. "After all of this hard work, you still cannot believe that this is my hair?!" But now, it doesn't bother me. If anything, it just makes me feel even better. Because my hair is continuing to flourish and they cannot believe that it is all mine. I purposely wear buns and ponytails around them just to keep them guessing about what is my length and all. Here it is, 2012. They hype about my hair has subsided. I am hardly getting weave-checked anymore, lol. I believe the got the picture: its my hair. But sadly, the things they have done and said to me have been permanently scarred to my heart. I feel bad because I would have thought family would have uplifted you more than anyone else. I was very wrong.
I answered my co-worker's question like this: GIRL, WHEN I STARTED THIS HEALTHY HAIR JOURNEY, I WAS EXCITED BECAUSE I WANTED MY HAIR BACK LONG AND PRETTY. HEALTH WASN'T ON MY MIND, BUT I HAD TO LEARN THAT TO ACHIEVE LONG HAIR, YOU HAVE TO ACHIEVE HEALTHY HAIR FIRST. YOU CANNOT GET FLOWERS TO BLOOM IF THE STEMS ARE NOT IN TIP TOP SHAPE, RIGHT? RIGHT BEFORE MY HHJ, I WAS READY TO BE ONE OF THOSE WEAVE QUEENS. I WAS READY TO CONSTANTLY HAVE BRAIDS AND WEAVE IN MY HAIR BECAUSE I DESPISED MY HAIR SO MUCH. INSTEAD, YOUTUBE VIDEOS AND HAIR CARE BLOGS HAVE SAVED MY HAIR AND HAVE SAVED MY CONFIDENCE. THERE IS NOTHING MORE CONFIDENT THAN THE FEELING OF YOU DID IT, AND YOU DID IT YOURSELF. WHEN I FIRST GOT ON MY JOURNEY, I WAS SCARED BECAUSE I THOUGHT ANY WRONG MOVE WOULD TAKE MY HAIR OUT. THANKFULLY, I HAVE NOT HAD ANY KIND OF SETBACKS. ALSO, THE BEST THING ABOUT GETTING INTO YOUR OWN JOURNEY IS THAT YOU ARE EDUCATING YOURSELF. SO, WHEN YOU ARE OUT AND ABOUT AND YOU ARE SHOPPING OR SOMEONE IS TRYING TO SELL YOU SOME TYPE OF HAIR PRODUCT, YOU ALREADY KNOW ALITTLE SOMETHING RIGHT? AFTER BEING BLESSED WITH THE KNOWLEDGE YOU ALREADY KNOW, YOU WILL NEVER WANT TO DO WRONG BY YOUR HAIR AGAIN. SINCE BEING ON MY HHJ, I HAVE NOT WANTED TO GO BACK AND DO HARM BY MY HAIR. I CANNOT SEE MYSELF DOING BAD BY MY HAIR AGAIN.
So, that was the question. That was also the extremely long answer. I am so grateful that she asked me this so that I could take a stroll down memory lane, lol. It was very hard to talk about some of this because what my family did to me was heartbreaking. It doesn't seem like much, but I am a very family oriented person. I felt like my family was turning their backs on me. I felt like my family could not accept me. I felt like I had to be someone that I am not just so that I could get some kind of reaction or acceptance from my family. In the end, my family is still here. They have upsetted me in the past, and I have forgiven them. But that does not mean that you are supposed to forget. I use that time and experience as foundation for me to continue on. Sometimes, family is not there for you. That to me is rock bottom. So, you have nothing to do but pick yourself up and start climbing.
Thanks to everyone who read this extremely long blog post.
Until next time, XOXO!
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