My natural hair journey

I last relaxed my hair in September 2012. It wasn’t a intentional decision to transition my hair. While I always wanted to do it, my husband’s opinions and my own fears kept me from going natural.

After becoming a mom in October 2012, I couldn’t imagine spending hours away from our daughter in a salon. So, I installed weave (aka my accessory hair) for the convenience factor. After a couple of installs, I realized I had begun my natural hair journey. There was no turning back.

In September 2013, I marked a year without a relaxer. My husband finally came around. I wore my own hair for a little while.  The only thing left was to conquer my own fears of how to care for the multiple textures in my hair. I was also afraid of what my corporate colleagues would think. So, I quickly returned to wearing weave.

In October 2013, we celebrated Mary’s 1st birthday. I remember not feeling as if I looked my best. I knew I would have to be photographed.  Looking back, it seems the bigger I became the bigger my accessory hair became #realtalk

I started really researching natural hair through online channels and talking to friends, I began to think I was armed with enough information and confidence to let go of my security blanket … my old friend … my accessory hair. Despite all of that, I just couldn’t let go of the convenience of weave.

My 41st birthday was in December. I spent a great night with friends. I felt as if I looked nice until I looked at the candid pictures. I didn’t recognize myself.  I was disgusted.

Then a few weeks later, I got the extra push I needed in the form of divine inspiration and intervention. In January 2014, my church began a 21 day fast and daily prayer call focused on renewal.  Our pastor challenged us to begin taking care of ourselves.  I realized I couldn’t be a good wife or mother if wasn’t good to me. I asked God for will power, accountability partners and motivation.  I took the leap of faith and asked two friendly church members  for help. They both enthusiastically said YES. Thus, began 2014 as the Year of Laschanda.

I knew I wouldn’t be successful with any exercise regiment if I was worried about my hair. It is funny how women, especially African Americans, are emotionally tied to our hair.

In January, I shed my accessory hair and insecurities over my natural hair.  My hairstylist advised me how to do a wash and go.  I joined a walking group. These ladies are so encouraging and motivating. Despite the unusually cold temps, we continued to get up before dawn to walk. The first few weeks were so hard. I felt sluggish and out of shape. The 1.5 mile walk seemed undoable. I kept going. Now, only 10 weeks later, I’m up to walking/running 3 miles. My goal is to participate in a 5k later this year. I even go to the gym at work so I could workout during lunch. With my natural hair, I no longer have any excuses.

At the same time, I’ve had some hits and some misses with my natural hairstyles. My attempt to do bantu knots failed miserably. It’s all ok. I’m taking it all in stride.

My husband has been so encouraging.  He truly understands my natural hair is directly tied to me becoming a healthier and happier me. “Happy wife … happy life”

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Don’t get me wrong.  I have had my fair share of natural hair naysayers, primarily my very  traditional parents. Oh well, while I would like to have their approval, I know greater is coming later. I’m looking forward to the rest of the year.

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