Saturday, February 13, 2010

Cristine ~ A diva in Transition

Meet Cristine,her decision to go natural is not only for healthier hair, it will also help her with her confidence level.

What made you decide to go natural ? What's your story?

I got my first relaxer at age 11 for my sixth grade graduation. I was never on a schedule with my relaxers (every 8 weeks or anything like that) so I learned how to stretch a relaxer from an early age. My mother has always been good about teaching me how to take care of my hair, but of course as I started to do my hair on my own, what I wanted took precedence and I allowed heat and relaxers to damage my beautiful mane. I live in Maryland (outside of Washington, DC) and go to school in Rhode Island. Having to stretch my relaxers 3 and 4 months at a time (when I didn't get my friend to relax my hair) opened my eyes to how beautiful my natural hair really is. I miss my hair! but I would always revert to a relaxer because I didn't have the time to really focus on styling my hair (doobies worked wonders for the busy college life style; wash-blow dry-flat iron-wrap : that would keep me at minimum for a week). Now I am studying abroad in London until June and I made the decision to not get any relaxers (I'm on a budget and I cannot do them myself! Never learned, never wanted to either). One of my Sorors recently went fully natural and I spend too much time adoring her hair pictures on Facebook LOL. I started thinking, praying, researching and decided that it was time for me to do the ultimate relaxer stretch and go natural. I love my hair, I want it to be healthy, and I'm so tired of society telling me what my hair should look like. The African-American community at my predominately white school is small and very conservative in terms of hair. It may not be obvious, but in conversations and observations I've had, I feel that many of the African American women have very limited views of the beauty of their hair. I decided that my hair is 'good hair' relaxed or not.

Have you told anybody? (friends,spouse,family members) What do they think? Is there any negative feed back?

I've told my friends and most of their reactions have been supportive. They've asked a lot of questions, mainly why. I've had one negative reaction from someone who is very attached to her relaxers. It hurt me and it made me angry, but most importantly it made me really look inside myself as to why I wanted to do this. And I realized that it was a personal decision for me, by me, and as long as I was fine with it, the decision stood.
I keep a blog while I'm in London and I recently wrote about my decision; my family reads it so I'm interested in hearing what they have to say next time we talk... I was/am very nervous to have the conversation with them because we take pride in our appearance (and there is nothing wrong with that!) But I'm known to be strong-willed and once I put my mind to something, I'll do it, so they have no choice but to support my decision

What styles are you currently using to transition?

I've been wearing buns and bantu knot outs. I've always liked to wear buns (when my hair is long enough) and the bantu knot out is my favorite transitioning style that I've tried. I love the results and I get lots of compliments when I wear the curls :-) (my picture is of my most recent bantu knot out)

What products are you using to moisturize your hair while in transition?

I'm still experimenting with products, especially since I'm in a foreign land! I've been doing hot oil treatments and deep conditioning - deep conditioners do wonders for my hair. I recently discovered that my hair does not like a lot of olive oil, so I will be looking for an alternative.

There are alot of challenges that come with transitioning ,what are some of yours?

My biggest challenge right now is confidence. Even when I wore relaxed hair I had this issue because I stuck to a few styles, so when I would try a new style, I would be very self-conscious and not really know if I liked it, if it looked good on me, etc. My transition to natural is about a lot more than my hair, but an overall transition to a healthier me - physically, mentally, and emotionally. Lots of people view me as this very self-confident, unwavering spirit because I hold a lot of leadership positions on campus and I'm always in the spotlight... but the insecurities are there. It's a daily battle.

Do you plan to BC? (Big Chop) if so ,When?

Oh no! I don't think I have the head or face shape to BC, LOL. I'm planning on a complete transition to natural. I'm focusing my transition on hair growth because I would like to be fully natural by my 21st birthday (August 27, 2010), but we'll see. I've had short (chin length, relaxed) hair twice in my life, so I know my hair can grow... I just needed to get away from the dangerous, chemical induced breakage. So the only chopping I will be doing is chopping off relaxed ends one or two inches at a time.

What are your long term goals for your hair?

I would love to be able to wear my hair in a big curly afro one day! I have a picture of my grandmother with a big curly afro and I absolutely love it. I'd love to rock a BAA for a while. But other than that, I just want my hair to be happy and healthy. It's been a while since she's been both.

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