If you were here with me last year then you may remember that I got a new job at an association that throws several conferences in close succession every year in later winter to early spring. So that's where I have been yet again - to the faithful readers I have left.
I have been active on instagram however, so please follow me there to see what I've been doing with my hair. It's been a long few months since my last post, I tell ya.
I am still considering the future of this blog and as the days go by and I follow more and more natural bloggers and wonder more and more what I have to say that is any more valuable or interesting. I've been natural for over 12 years now. I now know more about my natural hair then I remember about transitioning, or touch ups, or even learning new skills. I got regular relaxers for 8-9 years, only the last 5 of which was I old enough to be a direct part of the decision making process. But since I've been natural, it's been all me. And when I say that I mean in the beginning… it was ALL ME. I had no natural friends, I had no natural Youtube channels to watch in 2001. I had no section of the Target isle to shop in, no mail order nor mom-pop lines targeting my hair. I literally had my hair, my hands and what I knew about relaxed hair to begin my journey. I didn't even consider it "going natural" at the time. That wasn't really the term until later. Nor had I even decided not to relax my hair, I just cut it of to the point where there was none left, and then went home. What I discovered about my hair made me decide not to relax it.
I remember sitting in college class and absentmindedly twirling my new coily fuzz and being amused that the coils stayed. I did lots of coils and coil outs, then it grew out and I had yet to realize that gel and restricted post wetting combing was the key to getting my hair to dry curly. It grew out dense, combed out and over manipulated. I braided it a lot. I put in braid extensions often. I played with products and color rinses. BlackPlanet discussion boards and photo sharing site like Fotki came out and I had someplace to talk about what I was learning, and to bounce ideas off off. But no one was an expert. I don't remember following any gurus. And do you know what happened next?
Not what you think.
I destroyed my hair a few times. I hated it a few times. I disrespected it lots of times. I learned how to take good care of my hair years later.
And I even had special skills going for me. I was already pretty dexterous with my hands. I could braid, and flat twist and put in my own extensions. I was also pretty creative so I could re-create straight styles, or attempt old sets on my new hair. Yet it still took me years. And by years I mean 5 whole years after my last relaxer I still managed to need another big chop due to heat damage. And even more recently than that I decided that having long natural hair was not conducive to my busy life, and I cut it short again.
But all in all ^THIS^ IS the life of a woman who does not chemically alter or heat "train" her hair to be worn straight with greater ease. This is the life of a woman with coily, kinky, curly, frizzy, cottony, wooly, tight hair.
Trial and error, learning.
We've developed a little sub-sub-culture around our hair, which I immensely enjoy, but everything else is the same as when I was relaxed. I go to work, I have a social life, a personal life, and I have hair. The world is not ready for our natural hair types to be "just hair" too. But for me a this point, it is just hair. My hair.
I think my views on it come in part from the process of curiosity, fascination, exasperation and finally, acceptance that I have gone through. Of course I'm still learning, and constantly changing my mind about my goals and desires for my hair, but thats life. Cycles, and moods and circumstances. One day I could not care about length and demonized the constant acronyms for length goals, and on that same day years later I'm posting my BSL length hair. lol. Yeah, you all have been with me long enough to see my dye my hair. Swear not to do it again, do it again, and then swear to grow the color out. You've seen me swear off shampoo, then run back to it. Sway towards naturally derived products then swear by a Mexican gel with ingredients I can't pronounce.
I mean, hey. I'm a growing gal. What am I really talking about here?
I've been talking about my own learning process this whole time. While in the trees it comes across as tutorials, reviews, style updates and tips. But the Forest in its entirety, is called "Learning all about my own hair while I live my normal life grove". Yes, I think it's a grove because groves sound like a nice place that's not scary. lol.
What I'd like to do now is focus on how to learn about your own natural hair texture. How to follow blogs and advice in a healthy and productive way. How not to Idolize bloggers or hair types, or succumb to yet another culture of creating hierarchies for hair types, curl patterns, densities. How to try a set or a product without dramatically ruining ones life for a few days. How to process only what is pertinent to you from the advice or answer from a fellow natural. Your fellow naturals are in the middle of their own process of learning and growing too. It never ends. 4 years. 8 years. 12 years. 20 years. Life and circumstance will dictate priorities and preferences. Adaptation and culture swings are constantly occurring.
Anywho. This has mostly been a stream of consciousness type of post. I'm feeling some kinda way I guess, and I do feel bad about my lack of posts here. But I can't promise what is in store. I still want to expand the topics and do a redesign, as I have lost many follows already due to my loss of consistency :-/
They may be few and far between but I will keep you updated on those decisions and changes as they come along!