I feel like an early bird with going natural. I originally started transitioning in 2007 when I moved to Florida to attend grad school. The weather was completely different and not what I was used to. I asked around to see who were good stylists to go to. A Soror recommended this guy who owned a salon in Tallahassee. I only went when I needed a relaxer because I was working 2 jobs while being a full time graduate student.
The stylist was excellent at styling but horrible at trimming ends. One day when I went to get my hair done and he said I needed a trim. He continued to CUT my hair. I came in with shoulder length hair and left out confused with a bob. I was livid! My hair was not damaged to the point where he needed to cut that much hair off; and if it was, it was something that HE DID to damage it.
It was at this time I’d quit one of my jobs to focus on school. I then realized I could no longer afford relaxers. I was living on my own and became more conscious of living a healthy lifestyle. I also realized that the only unique thing about me was my ambition to succeed. Therefore, I started doing and saying things I always wanted to without getting the approval of others. I treated myself to a belly button and nose piercing as a form of self-expression.
I began transitioning without any references, help, or advice. I did not know exactly how I would wear my hair after I became completely natural, but I knew I was so over getting relaxers. Luckily, my job and college classes allowed me to wear beanies. But I knew that I had to do something about my hair before practicums for my degree came around. I decided to get micro braids and sew-ins. Micro braids took way too long and they kept falling out. I never got them again. I found a girl to do my sew-ins perfectly. I loved my sew-ins but did not love what they were doing to the front section of my hair.
Then in the summer of 2007, I went to a natural hair stylist in Tallahassee, Florida. I did not like it at first because it was something I was not used to. She styled it in a flat twist out and I instantly fell in love. I traveled home to Birmingham and I knew my parents were not going to like it. They did not mention it at the time, but they called me several times telling me that I needed to get a relaxer. They had even placed money in my account thinking that that was the main reason I went natural. I told them that this was something I chose to do and that I love my hair. Their comments and suggestions became rude until one day I stood up to them and let them know that it was my hair and no one has a problem with my hair but them. After that, they never mentioned anything else about my hair.
I had gotten so many compliments, even from people of different ethnicities. For some reason, these compliments meant a lot more than compliments I received when I had a relaxer. I discovered the Youtube channels a year later when I moved to Atlanta while helping a co-worker transition. Over the past few years, several of my friends would contact me to acknowledge my courage and get tips about transitioning, styling, and such. It was definitely journey that I do not regret. I have learned so much about myself and about my hair. The natural hair community has become bigger than I ever imagined. Even though I really did not contribute a whole lot, I feel like there were females out there like me who were looking to live a healthier lifestyle and to break away from what people expect me to do and do what I wanted to do.
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