Transitioning Talk: 16 Months, 16 Epiphanies

Time. Has. Flown. By! I remember when I used to freak out when stretching my relaxers at 16 weeks, now I’m at 16 months completely flabbergasted at the fact that I’m 73 weeks posts.

[1] Do it patiently, or not at all.

“It” is anything, really. I’ve learned the hard way that if I don’t have the patience to tackle my hair, I should not touch it. Getting frustrated and rushing is the surest way to cause breakage for me.

[2] A watched pot never boils.

I realized the other day after I hit the one year mark, I stopped keeping track of how much new growth I have. Tracking would help me gage how much longer I have to transition before I hit my “goal big chop length,” but not tracking is just the easier way to go.

[3] “Not everyone will understand the journey. Don’t worry, it’s not for them.”

I think the most asked question/statement I’ve received is “why are you transitioning, your relaxed hair was perfectly fine?” Or “There are so many naturals out there already, you should have stayed relaxed.” That last one always makes me squint because since when was there a set quota for relaxed hair or natural hair?  Who in the world is keeping track of those stats? Folks, it’s your hair. Do whatever you want to it.

[4] When in doubt, moisturize.

This is one is definitely not a rule set in stone; it won’t work for everyone, but for me, moisture has been my best friend.

[5] Stick to what works. Staples will not lead you astray.

I’m all for trying new products and techniques but sticking to staples and trusted techniques has helped keep this transition drama-free. My wash day posts may be a bit redundant at times, but “if it ain’t broke” right?

Here a couple staples and techniques that have helped me during this transition.


[6] I didn’t think I would care about finally seeing my natural texture, but I kind of do.

My mother relaxed my hair at when I was maybe 7 years old and since then I’ve never really seen my texture. Discovering my texture during this transition has so much fun.

[7] My texture is not uniform.

I had no clue I had varying textures on this big head of mine.  Some parts have tight coils, some parts not so much.

[8] Shrinkage is a liar. Embrace it and move on.

Here’s a perfect example of the varying textures I mentioned above. My nape and temples have the tightest curls and the most shrinkage. I think it’s cute lol. Stretching my nape out is always a surprise.

 

 

[9] The battle against tangles is “winnable,” and preventing tangles is possible . . . but I still hate detangling lol.

[10] On very small level, I think I haven’t accepted that I’m going natural.

Because I haven’t tossed my jar of ORS lye away. It’s still sitting in my closet as “plan B.” If I ever post that I threw out my jar of ORS you’ll know I finally committed lol.

[11] When it comes to styling, I’m pretty boring. And that’s okay.

Bun. Faux bob. Fleix rods. Curl formers. And repeat. I really don’t have any other styles up my sleeves lol.  I haven’t done a twist out since 2009 and braid outs are rare; I can count the number of times I’ve done a braid out on two hands.

[12] There is no cookie-cutter way to transition.

I was chatting with my friend last week and she commented that she’s not surprised that my transition to natural hasn’t gone the “traditional” route because I wasn’t a traditional relaxed lady either.  I’d never realized my methods the last 16 months weren’t “conventional” or “traditional” . . . they’re just methods that work for me, and that’s all that matters.

[13] Seeing is believing.

When I first told my grandmother I would no longer relax my hair, she swore up and down that my hair would break and fall out. Many moons later, my grandmother is now my cheerleader and supports this lil’ natural route of mine.

[14] Stretched hair is happy hair.

Keeping my hair stretched helps me avoid tangles, matting, and single strand knots. Curl formers and the tension method have become my favorite methods to stretch my hair.

[15] The tension method. Is. A. Freaking. Life. And Sanity. Saver.

Left: hair with conditioner still in after deep conditioning • Right: hair after stretching it and drying it to about 80% dry with cold air + tension method.

[16] Do it patiently, or not at all.

16 Comments

  1. I love the post, and I feel the same about most things you mention just growing my hair out. Right now, shrinkage is driving me batty!
    Tiki | Grow It Girl

  2. 1 & 16 = my CARDINAL rule!! Great job transitioning this long!!

  3. Lovely post 🙂 Your nape curls are so cute haha. And the tension method has been such a great way to reduce tangles for me too! Never would have tried it if it weren't for you!

  4. Great post Jeni! The longest I have ever stretched was 10 months, so I think if I should ever decide to transition….I can do it! You have inspired me on both routes to do what works for "my" hair and that everything is not going to work for you. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!!!

  5. I can totally relate to this post. I'm 12 months post and no. 3 hits the nail on the head. I get asked "why" a lot.
    Moisture and stretching have been the deal for me too

  6. Love this post! But for some reason, I read #14 as "stretched hair is nappy hair"! I need more coffee I guess 🙂

  7. Great post. These steps definitely helped me make it to 15 months post.

  8. Agreed. You really can't live your life according to other people's expectations. Great post.

  9. This post is filled with so much awesomeness! I really enjoyed reading each revelation especially 1,2,3, and 16. 🙂

  10. I completely agree that stretching is the best way to deal with my hair. Sometimes I think, what's the point of going natural if I'm still manipulating it to do something that it doesn't do naturally? And then I remember, it's my hair and I can do what I want!

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