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My whole natural “awakening” was by accident truthfully. My sisters were natural, I had friends who had been natural for years, but me, I did whatever to my hair, whenever, however after a while. In all honesty, I wasn’t a fan of the naturalistas who were overly aggressive and acted like you didn’t love yourself with chemical in your hair, so for years, I was pretty defiant. But after going a long time with stalling hair growth, I stopped trying to make my shoulder length hair work and started chopping it off in college. Mushroom cut for a while, cut it again. Long top short sides for a while,  cut it off again. I had no problem with people going natural, but at the time, it just wasn’t for me.

I had a texturizer that I adored about a year and a half ago. But getting to the adoration part of it was a struggle. When I got it, they literally had to give me a bald fade for it to work, so I went through an “Am I pretty?” struggle for weeks. Once it started growing out, I was certain it was fabulous. Almost six months later it became this big, curly, uneven fro. I refused to go through the same process to have another texturizer treatment done, so I thought, maybe if I can even this unexpected fro out, I can still rock a texturizer but keep all the hair I had grown (a wealth of new growth popped up by six months–Nigerian hair for you).

So when I took that texturizer to the man at my dad’s barbershop, with the help of the overzealous barber, I found myself unexpectedly natural. There I was, in the barbershop with an eerily perfect spherical and kinky fro with no more of the fake, silky curl I had an hour before when I walked into the barbershop (it was on the floor). I thought to myself, “Oh snap! Am I natural?”

While I could have chosen to go back down the same route and try for a relaxer again, it occurred to me that my TWA wasn’t all that teeny after all. So I went to the store, bought a few products and started my natural journey. It has been a year since I made the decision to stick with my natural hair, and I can’t say how glad I am that I did it. After a lot of ups and downs, some braids, a dry winter, and a sad trim or two at the salon (“I’m not draping anymore!” I thought), I, like most people have learned a lot about my hair, have grown proud of it, and actually plan to get locs this weekend (woo-hoo!). I’m sure what I’ve learned you can relate to if you’re growing with your natural hair as well, so yes, let’s share.

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