Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Healthy Mind: Make Mistakes, Practice Patience

When I first went natural in 2009 I did things all wrong and I'm happy to say that in 2012(sheesh time flies) I finally learned from my mistakes. If I knew then what I know now I would have waist length hair but instead I chose the hard route! Let me explain, after my (first) BC I was highly unrealistic about my hair and what it was capable of (length, texture, etc). I also was not interested in really learning about my kinks and coils until a year or 2 down the line. Those who have followed the blog for a while have witnessed my ever changing mane first hand. I was always "in my hair," never really protective styling, not very confident with my TWA and I was constantly coloring it. When I would get a good amount of length I would mess in it (out of excitement and impatience) and my hair would literally fall out. I was not careful or gentle with my fragile strands; that was lesson one, be GENTLE.

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"

Practice Patience.



Angelica Cox said...

I loved reading this but I have a few concerns. Like you I am that person that's always in my hair and at times I was VERY impatient. If I felt my hair wasn't growing fast enough I'd either dye it or cut it all off and end up having to start all over. Lately I've learned to think before I act with my hair which has been helping me ALOT. Only problem is I have very soft hair; recently I tried a protective style of doing the faux locs. I've done them myself once before and loved it but they did not last long but I can't exactly remember why. This time a friend of mine installed them and I fell in love instantly. But regardless of how much I love them, they easily slip off my hair. I just recently got them done and already I've had to have 2 locs put back in and once the whole head was complete I've had 3 or 4 more come out again. I've really really wanted to wear protective styles to keep me from the obsessive dying and cutting. I've been doing good sorting out the pros and cons of things that may not good for my hair and of course the cons won but I really want to know how can I get a protective style without them coming out so easily?

Danielle M said...

Great photos, your hair looks good. I agree, as soon as I leave my hair alone and stop watching it, it grows the most.

Michelle said...

What a beautiful honest post! Thankyou so much for sharing it, wishing you all the best for the next bit of your journey!

angelfrmbklyn said...

I wish I had half your dedication to protective styling. That's the one thing missing from my HHJ. I admire your discipline

Danyelle Milton said...

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this particular post. I can relate on so many levels! Like you, I have hand in hair syndrome, and because of it, I wasn't retaining any length. I wasn't understanding why because I've been natural for two and a half years. I was experiencing so much breakage, and because I wasn't gentle with my hair I experienced some thinining at the crown of my head. I started protective styling in October, and I've noticed a significant change in my hair! Noticeably less breakage, and I'm really seeing my hair grow!

Dya. said...

You and your hair is gorgeous! Thanks for the pep talk :)

Missy Brown said...

I love my natural hair journey. I am 8 months post big chop from short hair. Love all the information from naturalistas; patience is essential. I have been washing weekly, braids and wearing wigs to maintain length. So happy to be nappy.

Danielle Regis said...

What salon did you go to? Also, what was the stylist's name? I have yet to find one that is willing to straighten my natural hair with care :)