Carlie M on Challenge 1

Carlie M on Challenge 1

My hair has experienced a variety of damage including hot comb straightening, curly perm, relaxer, curling iron, and flat iron.  My hair felt and looked fried with split ends.

How did you damage your hair?

My hair has experienced a variety of damage including hot comb straightening, curly perm, relaxer, curling iron, and flat iron. My hair felt and looked fried with split ends. My scalp would get chemical burns each time I got a relaxer. The damage was extensive.

Carlie M. take on Damage

I did not realize that the damage was unnecessary and that it was okay to have one’s real hair.

Carlie M. take on Damage

My hair has experienced a variety of damage including hot comb straightening, curly perm, relaxer, curling iron, and flat iron.  My hair felt and looked fried with split ends.

Carlie M. take on Damage

I reached a point where I finally decided I had had enough.

Carlie M. take on Damage

It wasn’t just one moment but whenever I would feel the healthy new growth when it was time for a relaxer touch-up, it didn’t make sense.

Carlie M. take on Damage

 I no longer cared what other people thought about my real hair.  It was mine and that was that.
 

Why do you think you damaged your hair?

I was looking to the world for affirmation instead of looking to myself. I damaged my hair because that’s what everyone else did. I did not know anyone with their real hair, except for my little sister, who was expected to relax her hair once she became a teenager. I did not realize that the damage was unnecessary and that it was okay to have one’s real hair. Also because straight hair was considered beautiful and kinky hair was considered ugly when in truth I’ve always preferred curly hair as I would use a curling iron on my straightened hair. I was straightening my hair to curl it. Clearly illogical.

How you dealt with your issues and the damage?

I dealt with the issues by ignoring them.  I did not consciously realize that I was putting others’ negative opinions of my physical attributes ahead of my own.  I dealt with the damage by trimming ends and having long periods (>3 months) between relaxers.  So actually, the issues and the damage were never effectively dealt with until I opened my eyes to the truth.     How you overcame your issues and the damage? As Marcus Garvey is quoted “Don’t remove the kinks from your hair. Remove them from your brain.”  I reached a point where I finally decided I had had enough.  I no longer cared what other people thought about my real hair.  It was mine and that was that.  I made a conscious decision that I was going to like myself physically regardless of whether others agreed or not.   It wasn’t just one moment but whenever I would feel the healthy new growth when it was time for a relaxer touch-up, it didn’t make sense.

Why would I damage the great feeling new hair so that it could be straight like the fried old hair?

I am a scientist by nature and this chemical assault on my own head was not logical!   So I had my fiancée at the time cut off my relaxed hair.  It had been 3 months since my last relaxer and I just didn’t feel like paying someone to apply a caustic metallic base, used to decompose roadkill and unclog drains, to my head.    I decided for myself that there is no good reason, not one, why an intelligent woman would pay for such a service.  But I understand that most people continue to do so due to lack of information on how to care for natural hair, a scarcity of natural hairdressers, and a lack of community support.

What the experience taught you and the message you want to send to others?

It was almost 10 years ago that I overcame my issues with real hair.  The experience taught me to love myself and to appreciate the gift of life.  The message I want to send to others is you are in control.  The same hair I had as a child which was considered unmanageable and unattractive is now getting me compliments.  The only difference is I now love my hair.  It would appear that my love and self confidence are what people are reacting to and mirroring.  If you walk around ashamed of your hair, people will mirror your self-doubt.  If you wear it proud and love it, they will shower you with love and positive reaction.  The main ingredient is YOU.   Images  The first photo shows my hair when it is damaged with a blow dryer and flat iron.  Even though I flat ironed at a very low setting, it was dry and felt like straw. The second photo is my natural shrunken hair, it feels soft and moisturized. The third and fourth photos showcase the variety of styles I can do.  Here my hair is pinned back for a classic look, and let loose for a more relaxed look. The last photo shows that natural hair is professional for those ladies worried that their work options would be limited by giving up periodically damaging their hair with relaxers. 

 

 

 

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