Tresses, Presses, and Stresses

Tresses, Presses, and Stresses

So this month makes 2 years since I big chopped, which ultimately marks my “naturalversary.” The start of December, I did the unthinkable and cut my luscious locs that I have always known. I guess I’ve never shared my journey and how it’s been, so here goes.

Experimented with every style I could during my teeny weeny afro phase.
Why did I go natural?

Entering college my freshman year, I went from getting my hair done by my beautician every 2 weeks to maybe once a month, if I made it home. I didn’t have a secure hairstylist in Hattiesburg, and if you’re like me, you understand the struggles of letting someone else in your head. It’s a very scary risk to take; I mean…SERIOUSLY! *laughs out loud*

The end of senior year in highschool. Proper maintenance kept my hair full and healthy.
However, for some people, this small adjustment doesn’t matter, but I did not know how to do a bit of hair, especially my own. That’s what my beautician was for. I could only keep up with my hair as best as I knew how to. Bi-weekly wash, curl set, repeat. Ponytail for the convenience. And well, in all honesty, I didn’t even realize my hair was slowly breaking off.

But let’s just be honest, my hair could have been restored; it’s been done before. However, I know we’ve all heard the saying, “When a woman cuts her hair, she’s about to change her life.” Well, I hate to sound like a cliche “naturalista” here, but my life was truly changing around. My then bestfriend and I were growing apart, and well, I was becoming more MYSELF. What better way to learn yourself than through your hair!?

By the end of freshman year, my hair was much thinner than it had began.
What were my first reactions? 

The first reaction I really received was from my cousin. She despised and detested not only that I cut my hair, but that I was no longer getting perms. I just chuckled because it wasn’t her hair; she didn’t have to deal with it. She didn’t understand it back then. But it’s so funny now because she eventually went natural and comes to me about all her hair care needs. *rolls eyes*

My next odd reaction was from my dad, who didn’t even realize I chopped my hair until we were at a party and he approached me about it. I felt self-conscious then and defensive, on edge almost as if someone at the party had approached HIM about it. I already felt like a little boy, and he wasn’t making it any better.

1st BC: The morning of July 4th, after I decided to transition cutting an inch off at a time, but my mother’s beautician got scissor happy.
Overall though, the reactions I received were neutral: “OMG, you cut your hair?””But your hair was so long..””Are you natural? I like it!” Of course everyone else would like it because it wasn’t them.

What was the hardest thing to deal with? 

The length change. The look change. I went from major ‘hang time’ to ‘what hang?’ Like I mentioned in the previous question, I felt like I looked like a little boy. My hair wasn’t just cut and styled into a sassy style as some short-haired chicks that are featured on @thecutlife were. It was in its most KINKIEST state ever. I felt ugly and extremely not myself. I didn’t have my hair to hide behind.

Oh, and transitioning. Transitioning. Was. Horrible. My hair was two different textures. Roots natural with permed ends. This is what really led me to big chop; I had a short transitioning period. I got headaches day in and day out because it was unmanageable and I didn’t know how to style it. I couldn’t do the natural styles because my curl pattern was still developing and the relaxed styles were completely out the window. (Luckily, now, there are so many better methods out there with transitioning I wish I knew about, so now I encourage it for those coming from lengthy locs.)

What are my favorite products to use? 

So my biggest hair struggle was keeping my kinks and curls moisturized (still a struggle but it’s gotten better) because my hair is so THICK! I have 4c hair, which is the coarsest, so maintenance is a must.

The first line of products my mother bought me when I told her I was going natural was As I Am. However, my curls hadn’t fully developed so I didn’t get the chance to see how well it worked (or didn’t) and I still haven’t revisited the products since then.

I experimented with Cantu here and there and Pantene for Naturals, but I don’t have much to say on those.

I seriously first started using Dark-n-Lovely’s Au Naturale anti-shrinkage shampoo and conditioner, which was LOVELY! I still love this product because I felt it worked. My curls became soft under my fingers. My hair didn’t feel dry or brittle even after I conditioned, so I knew this would be a staple product.

Currently, I’m dabbling into the Shea Moisture products (really can’t help it when products are BOGO, lol) and I like it as well. I’ve used the raw Shea butter line, the Jamaican black castor oil line, and the coconut & hibiscus line.

So what is your regimen? 

From viewing other natural hair blogs and tons of YouTube videos, striving to search for the close-enough-to-perfect key to keeping my hair moisturized, I discovered the LOC method. This stands for: leave-in conditioner, oil, cream (of your choice).

So after conditioning or co-washing, I rub in my leave-in (which currently is the Jamaican black castor oil by Shea Moisture). For oil, I use pure organic coconut oil or olive oil. For extra moisture and longer stylage on my hair, I’ve noticed melting raw Shea butter helps for my hair. Then, the cream of your choice could be a moisturizer or curl & style cream, whatever you please. I use Shea Moisture’s Curl Enhancing Smoothie or Dark-n-Lovely’s Curl Defining Creme. And, voila, style to desire. My go to style is a twist out, although my fool. 

(Regimen subject to change depending on style of hair.)

What have I learned the most while being natural? 

Two years, few protective styles, silk presses and a couple of trims later.
Being natural is actually so entertaining in my life. It’s liberating, surprisingly. I have learned to embrace it more than anything, because it is YOUR hair. You decide how it makes you or breaks you (and by no means, should you let it break you.) I

have learned patience the most, as well. Patience is required because you can spend all night twisting your hair , and in the morning, it comes out totally different than what you expected. It also brings about the stares, and well, it’s okay if people chose me as the center of attention. *laughs* “Long hair don’t care” is out of the window and in with the “wild hair, don’t care.” I am ALL about the wild hair. I honestly can’t wait to see my 5-year growth. Lastly, what I have learned is to just be you. Not everyone opts out for the free-fro natural. If you are a pressed natural, DO YOU. In fact, if relaxed hair is even still working for you, DO YOU. Just, DO YOU in all things. Don’t worry about anyone else; have tunnel vision and focus on your self. Embrace every other person’s texture and journey. After all, it’s what makes all walks of life beautiful, naturally..beautiful.

– ardubb.



What a time to be a K.

It’s been one year since I’ve pledged into the illustrious sorority known as Alpha Kappa Alpha, and it has definitely been a time.

You know, having absolutely NO one Greek in my immediate family (besides my non-blood cousin who pledged Alpha Phi Alpha a year before me) and never even knowing what it was because that just wasn’t a thing of my culture, I never knew what I was getting myself into. I came freshman year with the intent to only join the normal social and academic clubs that I did in high school. Greek life wasn’t a thing in my mind. It was “cool” to look at but I didn’t imagine one day being apart of it.

Being boring old me, I got involved in the Afro-American Student Organization, and College of Science and Technology Student Ambassadors, Campus Civitan community service club and numerous others that resembled my involvement in high school. But what I did notice in these organizations were leaders on campus, who also happened to be Greek. This sparked my interest, and well, the rest is history. 

I pledged alongside 43 other wonderful people that I wouldn’t trade for the world. Over the past year, they have become my personal stylists, chefs, beauticians, chauffeurs, prayer team, dinner buddies, best friends, but more importantly, sisters. I’m elated to have shared this journey with them, to make countless memories, and even more excited for the many years to come. Our first AKAversary was a blast!