This upcoming March will make 3 long years since my “Big Chop”. For those who don’t know, a big chop is when you cut off the relaxed ends of your hair, leaving the hair that has no straightening chemicals in it. In the past 3 years, I could honestly say that I’ve either worn braids, or sew-ins for more than 50% of the time. For me, it’s easier to wear weaves than to do my own hair.
I’ve had relaxed hair for as long as I can remember. Having straight hair was all I knew. After years of dealing with breakage, I got my last relaxer in May of 2012. Not getting relaxers didn’t really change anything for me because I was getting my hair done professionally twice a month. Even after getting my big chop, months later, I never really had experience dealing with my own hair. I’ve never had short hair, I didn’t know what to do with it, and so I pretty much wore sew-ins up until I moved to Japan.
When I first moved to Japan, I was about a year “Post Big Chop”. My hair was probably close to chin length. I had no clue what to do with my hair. The climate in Okinawa is completely different than what I’m used to, and it effected my hair a lot. My hair was always dry, and I still struggled with breakage still. When I finally found a regimen that worked for me, it didn’t last long before my hair grew to neck length and my texture changed. I could no longer get a successful twist out, which was my go-to style.
We all hear about the perks of being natural; hair growth, less breakage, a healthier scalp. I’ve heard that it’s easier, cheaper and more versatile to have natural hair. Then you start noticing all the beautiful naturals with long, defined curls, or the ladies with the perfect up-do. I started to wonder, “What am I doing wrong with my hair?” I consistently struggle with keeping my hair moisturized. If your hair isn’t moisturized, you can’t detangle it, and if it’s not detangled, good luck with getting it to look decent. It’s discouraging at times. Some people make it look so effortless. It’s not always so easy for everyone.
I want to clear things up; being natural isn’t natural to me. I have more bad hair days than I have good hair days. My hair grows very slowly. I have considered cutting my hair off more times than I can count. I wear my hair in a bun majority of the time. I get so frustrated whenever I have to deal with my hair. My hair is still a work in progress, and I haven’t given up. Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of being natural. I’ve definitely started becoming more aware of the things I allow in my body.
The main reason I really wanted to write this, is because so many people glamorize having natural hair, but I never hear people talk about the struggles. I’ve always said “being natural isn’t for everyone”, which is crazy to me. Having natural hair isn’t always pretty. My advice for myself, as well as other struggling naturals; don’t let anyone discourage you. We all have completely different hair types. I don’t think I will ever relax my hair again, or at least I hope I won’t. As tough as it is, I’m prepared to put in the time and money to fall in love with my natural hair.
THIS IS NOT A NATURAL HAIR SHAMING POST. I’m open to any advice, tips, or encouraging words anyone may have!