Growing up, I never really thought about my hair as being different or bad, I just knew that my hair was bigger than most girls. When comparing myself to other girls, I noticed that their hair was long, and I think I thought it was longer because it was straighter. I wanted longer hair so much, and my hair was kind of long, however, it would always shrink up. Like, my grandma would straighten my hair and it would be cute, but then, later on, it would puff up. Instead of having long hair, I would have big hair puffed up at my shoulders.

Having big hair was nice, and it was cute, but I really had my heart set on having bone straight hair. I was so sure if I could get it straight, I could get it long. So, fast forward to me getting my first relaxer, I thought that would be the answer. I honestly thought I found the best way to get my hair longer. Imagine how done I was when I realized that my hair with a relaxer in it would only go to my shoulders. Even when I would take good care of it. I know it was growing because I always had new growth, it would just break off at the ends and stay at my shoulders.

In 2010, I get to tenth grade and I see all these beautiful hair styles on tv and the internet and they all have big, long hair. Since I was still unhappy with the relaxer results, I decided that I wanted to try going natural. I big chopped my hair that fall. At the time I regretted it because I found out that my head shape isn’t that cute, plus, without hair I look a lot like my dad. My dad’s good looking, but, as a girl, I didn’t want to look like him that much.

I was surprised that my hair grew so fast afterwards! Three months later and it was already at my ears and by the summer it was almost to my neck when straightened. However, I quickly realized that my hair takes shrinkage to a whole new level. No matter how long my hair got (by my senior year in 2013 it was bra strap length stretched) it would always shrink to my ears. It was cute but not what I wanted. Remember, at the time, I wanted length.

I think coming to college is what finally made me accept my hair. All my life I always had someone else doing my hair, someone else tracking its health, and someone else maintaining it every week or so. Coming to college and having to detangle, wash, and style my own hair made me realize exactly how over rated long hair for me would be. Not only could I tell that my hair was long, it was also really full and healthy. I realized that it was the condition and health of the hair that mattered and that length would happen eventually. Finally letting go of my struggle for length, I decided to have fun with my hair.

I dyed my hair purple over that spring break. It was great at first, but then the purple faded to red and eventually faded to brown and stayed brown. However, I had a job that summer and I was so busy keeping up with it that I went from washing my hair once a week to washing my hair to once a month. It was horrible. Then I went back to college for my sophomore year and started another job. Plus I was double majoring and double minoring. I was doing entirely too much.

Eventually the colored parts of my hair, which had grown out a lot since I first dyed it, it super dry and hard to manage. It started to fall out and, by that point I was over it. I thought that if I went ahead and cut all the color out, I can start fresh and get my hair back right. The first time I got it cut, I told the lady I wanted all the color out but she said it would make my hair too short and she didn’t think I would like it since it was almost to my elbow when stretched. She cut most of it out and left me with brown tips. My hair was back to my signature shoulder length. I got the rest of the brown cut out 3 months later and I was back to shoulder length again. I think I got it cut about 4 months after that, again, because of split ends? I’m not sure, but, once again back to shoulder length. And, now I have a little heat damage in the back so I’m going to get it cut soon back to, you guessed it, shoulder length.

I guess the thing that I learned over my hair journey is that length doesn’t always mean health. At my hair’s longest, it was also at its most damaged. At my hair’s shortest, it was also at its healthiest. I want to maintain healthy hair. I want to maintain hair that fits me. If that means that I have to live the rest of my life with my hair at my shoulders, then that’s fine with me. Besides the heat damage, it’s healthy, so I’m happy.


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