Photo taken today, 2/4/2014, all of my glory.
I am thrilled to report that after years of ups and downs with my hair, I have finally learned something: leave it the hell alone. Flowers do not bloom when rushed or poorly taken care of, neither will hair. Rewind to March of 2012: I got my 2nd BC and was determined to do things right. For almost the entire first half of the year I wore twists, let my color grow out and tried to find ways to allow my hair to flourish. I was introduced to HeatFreeHair that Winter and got my first weave install from them not too long after. Ngozi, the owner, wanted to embark on a journey with me--a one year protective style journey, with her new brand, that changed my life. I honestly did not think I was patient (there's that word again) enough but I did it. During 2013 I wore my hair twisted or weaved up. Practicing that patience was worth it. Every 8-12 weeks I would re-install my PS's even when I did not want to. Today I am reaping the benefits of my hard work and endurance. In between wearing my HeatFreeHair installs I would wear my twists. Nothing was going to keep my from my goal and protective styling was a Godsend.
(You can see a growth comparison pic HERE)
From last week's trim 1/30/14 (It did NOT last long.)
Last week I took out my last install and was greeted with thick healthy hair! My hair had been in PS's for 56 weeks. Words can't describe how pumped I was! After washing and DC'ing it was clear that I needed a little trim. (Side Note: technically he dusted my ends. I didn't really have many splits because I trimmed my own hair 12 weeks prior). I was terrified to go back to a hair salon after countless bad experiences but it needed to be done. Plus, I really wanted to see what my hair looked like straightened.
Luckily, I found a stylist who not only took care of my hair nicely, but listened to my concerns before touching it. He got the talk from me: "Please, no heat damage or no chopping my hair off and calling it a trim, etc..." Thankfully, when he was done flat ironing and trimming, I was in awe. He gently and carefully turned my kinky mane into what felt like satin. I could not believe that my hair had grown from a little 2 inch bush to this! AND I was able to retain most of length (between 8 and 10 inches). Through all of the mistakes I made prior to this I came to the realization that, like with anything, if we want good results we have to invest good energy, time and patience into whatever it is.
I have been treating myself that last week by wearing my hair out but this will come to an end soon. The plan is to install Havana Twist for a while and wear my hair in a bun 95% of the time. I am hoping to double my length (by retention) in 2015 and I cannot wait to embark on that journey! I might treat myself to another HeatFreeHair install if my budget allows it.
The moral of this story for new and old naturalista's is to be patient! Our hair is always growing but if we aren't patient enough to take our time with our strands, and be careful with them, we won't see our progress. I highly recommend protective styling to those who have hand in hair syndrome (like me) or who find that you're not reaping the benefits of length retention on your journey. If you don't have the money for good weaves, wear twists. Wash and re-use your Marley hair ladies, it can be done! If your hair isn't long enough for a bun or other PS up-dos, invest in a super cute satin lined beanie and rock the mess out of it. Yea, that may not be what you want but it will give you what you need while waiting for your results.
You can do it ladies! Keep positive minds and stay lifted in "cans" not "can'ts"