1.I have been completely natural since May 2008 (10 mos). Last relaxer was August 2007.
2.Actually I never made the choice to “go natural”. Once I was natural I just decided to “stay natural”. See in August 2007 I got a relaxer and then 2 weeks later I got micro braids. Kept them in all the way until December around Christmas break (way way to long lol). Between weavings I usually go to relax my hair but for some reason I just did not have the time this time.For the 2weeks my real hair was exposed I just kept it tied up and did not really care to look at it . I put new micros back in my head for another 4-5 mos (also these braids where so convenient for school and I never wanted to take them out). Now it was May and desperately time to take my braids out. School was out so I had time to focus on me and pay attention to myself. After I take the braids out, washed, dried and looked at myself in the mirror I for the very 1st time took notice on a head full of NATURAL hair. I was amazed. I had never seen my hair in such an unfamiliar texture. I had about 2 inches of relaxed ends though. My natural hair outweighed the relaxed hair. At that moment I immediately got scissors and cut those ends off. Which is what I now know today was my actual “big chop” And today I know that the 10 mos of braids was actual “transition”. Around this same week I still had plans to get a relaxer but still just simply never got around to it. I now believe it was the love I had developed for my natural hair. I made the choice to just “stay natural”
3.This experience has taught me to love myself. The real me the way that God made me. I don’t need a chemical out of a box to be beautiful. I feel unique. I’ve had relaxers since the age of five and never gave the real me a chance. After deciding to stay natural I had to go online and learn learn learn because I had no idea what I was doing. It was a real eye opener. I had only knew how to work with relaxed hair. Also might I had my relaxed hair was going nowhere. It was fragile, boring, and unhealthy from heat and relaxer. And it NEVER grew (well you know it would grow from the root, but break on the ends, so still pointless). I never saw my hair grow until I started being natural. Natural hair is springy, fun, and so much more me. I wish I had been natural all my life. I hope relaxers fade out and all black women can see their natural beauty. Also seeing girls who have been natural longer and know a lot about what they are doing (like tamara) has been such a huge inspiration to motivate me to continue this journey.
4.As far as other’s responses, I got mixed opinions. From family and friends. I can understand though. Having long weave one day than walking in with a twa/wanna be puff can be surprising. Noone was directly negative but some people took other routes. I got responses like “wow girl you brave I could never do that” and “so when you gonna go get your next perm”. My mom ( a permie girl) actually told me that my hair looked like cotton lol. I really had to keep my confidence up. But over time as I learned how to take care and style my hair and with more growth I got lots more compliments and have even got’n some girls to consider going natural. I love being natural and would not have it any other way.