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Hello 2016 & goodbye afro!

If I didn’t make myself sit down and write this here post you’d be reading it sometime in September. So belated happy new year and all of that stuff – I’m going to jump right in…

I have a very particular skill to m-u-l-l over things. Like, I think about stuff. A. Lot. Too much. Hair decisions are right up there for me with major life decisions. Like when I went natural (ugh this post makes me cringe, I’d write it so very differently today) some 4 years ago (& how is it 4 years already!) I actually thought about doing it for 3 years before I actually took the leap & big chopped.

Can we pause here. 3 years!!! Can you imagine where my ‘fro would be right now if I was 7 years natural today? I might actually be somewhere close to my Tracee Ellis Ross goals. Imagine!


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Refresher… my relaxed hair – late in 2010. It never ever got longer than this…

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Big chop – February 2012 (there are many days I want this look back for good)

Ya so anyway, I made a conscious decision to park my overthinking about getting my hair straightened (blow dried only, calm down!) at the start of the year. My birthday was coming up & I thought it’d be a cool way to teach myself a little bit of letting go. And obviously I wanted to see what was going on underneath All. That. Hair. So in the end, I probably thought about getting my hair straightened for a little over a year by the time I actually did it. Progress.

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The before shot (of course we built in some extra time to arrive at the salon early to take some snaps!)

So just a little context of what my hair had been through up to then in the 4 yrs I’d been natural.

  • No heat except very occasional diffusing (like less than once a year)
  • No colouring (well except 2 rounds of henna – I would do a post about it but it was such a non event both times)
  • No stretching (unless you count puffs, in which case lots of stretching!)
  • Two trims (that awful one & then one that was fine later on)

I’m not going to get into my full regime here but I felt like my hair was in good nick overall. I have l-o-a-d-s of hair & my individual strands are quite thick. And so off I went to my beloved Brian Warfield at Tanaz (there isn’t another man/woman/person on earth (ok well in SA) that I’m going to let near my head anytime soon!). Listen, even as I was sitting there in the waiting area I was scared. When I was being shampooed I was scared. When he was setting my hair in curlers I was scared. When he was blow drying I was scared. When he was flat ironing my hair right towards the end and it was just the two of us left in the salon I thought he might hear my heart beating out of my damn chest because I was dying!

What if my hair never curls again? What if I ruined it? What if this is it? Will it be worth it? Heat damage is real & we’ve all see heard those stories and seen those pictures. I’ve always felt like I wanted to hug those girls and cry with them quietly while we hold hands in solidarity. (Here’s where my overthinking goes off on a tangent…)

And some 5 & a half hours later I was done. I was seriously not siting around aimlessly in this time. My hair just took that long. I brought three phones, a battery pack, my water bottle & I got served several cups of tea so I was good. I kept having to message A that he should come fetch me an hour, no two hours, no-I’ll-just-let-you-know-when-I’m-done-rather later than planned. Did I mention I have a lot of hair?

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In the end, my “trim” was somewhere between 10 to 12 cms (yes, I got down on my hands and knees & had a good & proper look at all the cuttings on the floor), which is a lot. But I really needed it. It’d probably been around 18 months+ since my last trim & I knew my hair was uneven particularly because I still haven’t been able to kick to habit of playing with/pulling out my hair so there’s a whole section on the left side of my head (because I use my left hand to inflict the damage) that was way shorter.

Even after the trim/cut, once straightened, my hair was significantly longer & definitely thicker/stronger even just to the touch than my hair has ever been in the last 14 years that my hair had been relaxed. Like, way more – compare the 1st pic on this post to the above last few “after” ones – see what I mean?

When A picked me up he was all like “so are you happy?”. As if all my hair flicking & smiles weren’t giving it away. The truth was that I while I was unsure just how long my hair would be, I was sure it’d straighten well. The big question of course was if it would revert well (i.e. when I shampooed) so I spent the next few days enjoying getting using to straight hair again & while silently praying for my curls to pop back come washday.

Be kind to your hair & to yourself!

W

PS I had the most delectable birthday dinner at Kream in Pretoria – its been on our list for such a long time but ya, Pretoria. I didn’t take pics so I’m not even going to promise you a post but it was sublime & entirely worth the drive. Just go!

 

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