Thursday, 27 December 2012

In Retrospect

So I'm sitting here thinking about my hair and all that it has been through. I just gotta laugh.
I vividly remember my mother combing my hair and me screaming for dear life, and every time I put my hand in there, she'd slap my little fingers with the comb, which added to my pain. I hated getting my hair combed. The countless combs that broke off in my hair, even when there was conditioner in there. As a result of this my mother sent me to hairdressers to get my hair cornrowed or braided. She sews, and at that time she was extremely busy, didn't have much time for my ranting.
Shortly after, my mom had my hair pressed, she then got tired of it going back to its natural state whenever she washed it, so she relaxed it. I was only 6 years old. I loved it tho, it was smooth and seemed and flowing. No more pain when combing, it was a breeze. She still sent me to get it braided, combing it every morning for school was a burden. I can understand now that I have a son, she had 3 of us, and was very busy.

My mom's sending me to hairdressers caused me to get a nasty fungus, I remember my hair being washed with the shampoo, it burned like crazy, and burned off my hair too, and that was it for my hair, I never grew back.  this really hurt my father, he loved seeing my hair. My hair never really came back, it would grow to a point and then break off. At about 8 years old I started comb my hair my self. I'd roller set it in the nights, and do something in the morning to get to school. Looking back, I don't regret it, that made me start using my hands at a tender age, and developed my independence. Most of my All Age sch?Junior High, my hair was in braids. She'd steam it occasionally too.

Then there was High School where I was no longer allowed to wear braids, this was hard, my hair got relaxed more often now. In my first year of High School, I told my mom I wanted to go back natural, I told her that i wanted to have straight hair and be able to have curly hair, she laughed. I braided my hair, in cornrows, because my hair was short, and the ends wouldn't stay together, my mom added a ting bit of extension, and wrapped it around neatly. Some teacher that was way more concerned about my hair than my grades, dug up my hair and sent me home for breaking the rules. So i went back to the relaxer cause  that was the only solution. I was stressed out. I became rebellious.

By the time I was in my second year, I bleached it, this bright reddish orange colour. I achieved that look by rinsing my hair with copper sunset rinse, and hydrogen peroxide, which stayed in my hair overnight. Of course i was sent home again. My mom not knowing what really took place and tired of them focusing on hair, defended me. Shortly after, my hair started to fall out, so I went and had it cut.

My  third, fourth  and  fifth year in High School, I wore my hair short, it was the best thing, I would gel it down alot, and when it grew up too much snip snip. By my fifth year, i decided I'd grow it out a little, now, it was at a point, where, the short cut, lost it flava and I couldn't pin it up, so i decided to break the rules again, and added some tracks, had my  hair, pinned up,  unless you're really inquisitive, u would know there was sumtn in there. And of course I was sent home again, it wasn't so bad, i didn't care, I was almost out of school anyways and rocked my short hair til I was out, Bye Bye Bitches!

After leaving high school, the moment I had my last exam, I purchased a box a dye, and blond I was! Because I constantly had black dye in my hair,  the ends didn't take my new colour, so, I relaxed, then dyed again, lightest blond! My mom drew the line, and said that was too much, so i had to dye it back to black One day while washing my hair, I saw alot of it in the sink. the middle, gone. I was sad. I went and got another cut, relaxed it, and most of it came out in my hands. I took a deep breath, said to my bro, cut it all off. I coloured it again. I loved colour.

Shortly after I processed it, I got my first job and that hair wasn't work appropriate, I cut it again, occasionally, i started where I left off, braiding, extension, relaxing, cutting. I cant really say how many times, I did a Big Chop, not with the intention to go natural, just cuz i was tired of dealing with my hair, and cutting it was the only solution. My hair did grow, but i hated it nonetheless. And would end up damaging it or cutting it.

In 2010, August, I cut off, i was fed up, for no reason, just didn't want any  hair, I had a texturizer, then a Mohawk, then micro braids, which i kept in for  months, there was growth, i had a relaxer, which did nothing for my hair. This was about February 2011, I was about 2 months pregnant. I put in more braids, and sew-ins, but every time i had a relaxer my hair would come out curly. i was devastated and was mad to cut if off again, but because my face was so fat due to the pregnancy, I left it.

During my pregnancy my hair grew, wow, and it was thick, wow again. In my last month, I did a wicked concoction to deep condition, my mom gave to me. She used: Motions CPR, Jheri Redding Protein, vinegar, egg, mayonnaise, and sumtn else DWL, it did wake up my hair tho, yep. I had it braided up and ready to give birth. About 6 weeks after having my baby, I had it braided again. It go sooo thick, This was around November 2011. Early December I had to go back to work early, so i had to have a relaxer, didn't have the time to braid it again like i wanted to. I had some sew -in again, kept it for a month, and  in January 2012 back to braiding.

I took my braids out, late  February 2012 had a good amount of new growth, wore my hair with the new growths, everyone kept telling me to get a relaxer,  its as if it was offending them. I liked it, it was OK to me. But i went ahead and got a relaxer, early March 2012 my was bone straight, I used Dr Miracles, no base, Super, it was strong. My scalp was burnt, it was not ready for that. I was burnt, I felt hurt. I got another sew in, kept it in for about 6 weeks. When I took it out, my hair looked limp, my scalp sore. It was around that time,  Early May, 2012I started see the natural haired sistas, I felt that urge, I wanted to see my own hair. Wanted a change.

And that I did. I chopped it all off, this time with the intention to have healthy natural hair. I did colour, which I regret now, but its gonna be OK, I'm gonna cut the bleach ends soon. So far it has been a struggle, but worth every second.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

No Regimen

Since I started my journey, I seem to be noticing  everyone's hair,  both natural and relaxed. I see so much damage and thinning. At times I feel the urge to say something, to let them know that the main reason for their limp hair, is the RELAXER and secondly lack of care. That I've learnt the hard way that black hair NEEDS TLC

My mom says when she was younger, all they did with their hair was wash it, sometimes no conditioner and  oiled it with coconut oil, that was boiled by her grand father or that was purchased at the local market, then she would put some big plaits/braids or cornrows, that was it. She says her hair still grew and she had her mega afro. lol. But there was no need to do all what I'm doing now or what she sees on the  net.
I understand that some persons can leave their hair as is and it grows, for some, not so.

When I do open up about hair tho, I realize that these women have no regimen.  They do not have any products that they love, that they must use. Some say they buy the cheapest shampoo and conditioner, rarely, if ever get a DC. When they wash, they use no leave in, they blow dry and flat iron and go, or if they are natural, they wash sometimes with shampoo only and oil the hair, get it cornrowed and gone. Not saying you should get all scientific and start your own product line, But I've come to realize that a regimen is needed, even if its simple. The aim should be to achieve and maintain healthy hair.

I was like that: Before embarking on my journey, I too had no regimen, it was anything goes. Anything that says shampoo and condition I used to use  VO5 and White Rain Shampoo (filled with grease cutting ingredients, not recommended for black hair), and any cheap conditioner. I say "grease cutting" because if you use it on a greasy pot, it has the same effect as dish washing liquid.
I rarely DC, mostly had in weaves or braids and a relaxer, then wondered why my hair was always in this horrid state,  At times, I'd take out braids or extension and get a relaxer the same day. I was so ashamed of my roots showing, I'd do anything to let them hide, I don't wear wigs, bcuz of a stupid phobia that it may fall off, so I was depressed most times when it came to my hair .That caused serious damage to my hair and scalp, which I'm still suffering the consequences now. Deep down I knew the damage that would occur but never really cared  much about it.  Especially since so many bad things were being said about it, and if it looked too badly damaged, I'd just cut it off.  Hate filled me, so taking care of it, having a regimen, ensuring that certain things be done, were of no importance.

I then stepped up from the cheaper stuff that is really meant to be used in Caucasian or type 1 hair and started trying out products, even tho a bit more costly, that was meant for black hair, like Motions Lavish Conditioning Shampoo, Motions CPR, and their Silicone Conditioner, I felt a  difference, but not enough for me to have a proper regimen . I then started to get a DC, every now and then, I just thought it way too time consuming. But I did wear a lot of extensions and braids still avoiding my hair and having to deal with the coarseness of my hair.

Now that I'm more understanding of my hair, I intend to have a simple regimen, one that works for me. Even tho I'm currently a big ol PJ, deep conditioning is a big part of my regimen so far and moisture.  I've seen and read of so many that seem a bit too complicated for me. But to each his/her own... Listen to your hair...


If I Only Listened

A few months ago a co-worker of mine I'll call her Gee had in micro braids. When she took em out, she washed her hair, cornrowed it wet and pulled it out, it had a nice curly look. Her hair looked strong, to me, and nice. She expressed concern that she wanted to get a relaxer the next day. I asked her if she was crazy! The following day, she had it in a bun, gel'd down and all. Her confidence lowered when someone asked her if she was planning on going natural.
I asked her so what if she planned on going natural ... Natural hair is beautiful... I did not go too much into preaching about natural hair. I did however warn her that her scalp is is a tender state and if she reads the relaxer kit, or the jar, it clearly states that "if you had in braids or extensions, wait 2 weeks before processing hair, as this may cause damage to hair and scalp" 

I must admit that I have been guilty of doing that very same thing, that I was here warning her against, my mom warned me against it too. I never appreciated my natural hair, not even the new growth, and, what is the point of getting a protective style if you're gonna jus go ahead and damage the hair?  I suggested that she she got a DC put in some rods or continue wit the bun. She says she saw a former school mate of hers and the way she looked at her, she knew she had said something about her hair.

The following day, I saw her, her hair was rodded, the front of it was sleek and well processed. SMH, but that was not all, the front of her hair was literally leaking, it was burnt so badly. OMG!!

She relates the story to me, she went in the salon, the hairdresser washed out the gel, blow dried her hair and started the process.  A few seconds later, she felt the burn, BURNING, she says her legs were in the air, she was feeling it so badly her eyes filled with water. She says after that ordeal, the hairdresser put in some treatment, using molasses and some other concoctions, and put her under the dryer to let the hair steam.The middle of her hair was not processed any at all. When I saw it my skin crawled. A few days passed and the scabs came up... Shivers...

My question is why the hairdresser go ahead and processed her hair when she had to wash  the gel out and blow dry it??? Then went ahead and gave her what seems to be a DC? Tryna undo damage? Here in Jamaica, it seems there aren't many hairdressers that take care of their clients hair. Me, as a mere onlooker can see extensive damage to persons hair, and I think to myself if I were a hairdresser and someone with their hair in that condition came to me, to have their hair relaxed, I would not do it. Its not all about the money! That was 1 of the reasons I started doing my own hair or made my mom apply the relaxer. She did only the new growth and she never dug into my scalp, like many hairdressers I've been to. They also would comb the relaxer unto the ends and would want you to bear the burn, by putting you before a fan or sutmn! Man! Those days were torture.

Earlier this week another one of my co-workers I'll call her San ,  had in glue in extensions, and says she wants to take em out and have her hair relaxed the day after.  She asked me what I thought about that idea, of course I told her to get a DC and wear her hair, and wear her hair as is, "give your scalp some time to breath" I told her. She ranted about how she cant wear her hair cuz too much new growth, and she dont have that  bone structure to do the rod set style. SMH. When I mentioned Deep Condition, in JA we say "Steam" She said "I never got one of those" SMH again.
Gee, mentioned earlier, turned to her and said "Listen to Myeia, cuz if I did, I wouldnt be in this position now"  :-) <-- Thats me smiling. Lol

San did listen, she didnt DC tho, but she didnt get the relaxer, yet. She wore her hair, and I must say, it looks  good. I'm getting the message across, slowly but surely...


Saturday, 15 December 2012

May 31, 2012

On that day, I decided to do my Big Chop. This wasn't my first time cutting all my hair off, matter of fact i cant count how many times i cut off. Once i saw any damage or just got tired of dealing with it, that was my solution. But on the 31st of May, 2012 when i asked my bro to shave it all off, I started my journey.

A few weeks before my BC I saw this pic of a natural hair female. I loved it. I've always loved seeing natural hair. I must admit tho, i didn't like seeing those with my hair type, which is 4C. One pic led to another and another, and it went on and on, I couldn't stop looking, and once i googled, I was shocked to see the many natural haired females. I read their stories,  some sounded so familiar. Id been saying I want to go natural, for years. The very first time, I was about 13 years old in the first form. I remembered when my mom used to press my hair, and whenever she washed it, it came back to being natural, I wanted that versatility, but i had to have it relaxed, due to lack of knowledge  After that I continued to feel the urge, but really didn't get the drive to start my journey and the people surrounding me didn't allow that. Knowing me, and my somewhat rebellious nature, the tendency to stand out, my free spirit, I did it. Chopped it all off. I know I'm impatient, so transitioning was never an option. For me, that would lead me right back to a relaxer.

My hair after 6 months and some weeks has definitely been a challenge. I haven't been frustrated tho, haven't felt like going back to the relaxer. haven't regretted the day i decided to embark on this journey. I have cried. Why? Discouragement, hurtful from people closest to me. Telling me that what I'm doing is a waste of time, and its not gonna make any sense you do that. But i have not given up. I pressed on, and I'm proud. No longer am i influenced by what people say about my hair, no longer do i care that my coils are in your face and you don't like it. No longer do i feel the need to hide my hair. No more. I'm truly emancipated.

Friday, 7 December 2012

Dont Hate what you Dont Understand

Don't Hate What You Don't Understand 

When I saw this statement the first thing that came to mind was my hair. I hated it, LITERALLY. Always looking at other hair textures and envying them. Because of that,  lived in weaves, had to get regular touch ups, never wanted to wear my hair. I never understood it, never understood why it had to be so curly, koily khinky, why it had to be so dry, never understood why it never grew. 

I would cut it regularly, bleach it and talk bad things about it. I called it all sorts of dirty names, most of them were what persons called it while I was growing up... "Coconut trash, steel wool, Bird nest, sense fowl, kya, just to name a few. Those words are hateful, descending from slavery days. Even today, while I embark on this journey, my hair gets called all sorts of hateful names, I've stopped tho, I no longer hate it, I love it, and  have come to understand it. 

I now understand that the tenderness in my scalp was due to harsh combing, tugging and pulling, I've come to understand that combing from root to ends, will cause pain, I've come to understand that because of the tight curls, the natural oils that should be aiding in moisturising my hair, cant reach to the ends, so i have to add moisture. I now understand that my hair can grow, all it needs is TLC. 

And for those persons who see my crazy kinks and coils and pass hateful remarks, I don't care, I know they don't understand my hair the way I do. 


Thursday, 6 December 2012

Ignorance Enslaves, Knowledge Liberates

Ignorance Enslaves, Knowledge Liberates, this is the motto of my Alma Mata. These words have proven true over the past six months when my eyes were open and I did my BIG CHOP!

All the years of my life, I grew up enslaved to the thought that my hair would never grow, and that if  I had natural hair I was a church goer who is under the strict rule of the church and can never get a relaxer.

I have been enslaved, bounded in the chain of the relaxer, whipped with the harsh burns of the chemicals, abused, having to deal with hair breakage. Not being able to accept my hair, not being able to accept me.
Not being able to be free.

All these years, and finally I'm FREE... Liberated.