1. The absolute most embarrasing mistake was: drumroll* cringe* chemically straightening "just the root". I had no idea how to deal with my edges, so this brilliant struck of genius hit me like a 3 million ton acme brand hammer "I will just wear the root straight to blend it with the rest when I flat iron" which leads us to mistake number 2…
2. Flat ironing during, before and after the chemical transition. If I had even googled curly hair once I would not have made this mistake but as it happens, I did not read hair blogs or hair instagram or hair webpages at all prior to 2016, it is weird but when you read number 3 you will understand this a little better.
3. Not reading Hair Blogs or watching Hair Youtube, in fact I avoided "the hair internet" Why? I thought it was a toxic community. I let myself be negatively impressed by one single website, blog etc. and gave up on it, a lot of advice was scientifically wrong and I realized that I was not welcome when I asked a question about something I wanted for my hair and the response was less than nice.
4. Which brings me to my final and biggest mistake: I had no clear goals. If I have had clear goals, the negativity of my first encounters would have not isolated me. If I think back to 2012 my kinda goal would be have been more or less something like "ehhh, mmm try not to straighten my hair with chemicals? Whatever lol", not much of a solid goal right? So when things got hard (blending textures) I went back to my Brazilian blowout & done. There were a few perks to making this mistake, I must admit not having a goal also granted me freedom to have fun without pressure. I had no pressures internal or external, no negativity around me or on social media, but this lack of goals delayed the process of change. So my unsolicited advice at this point: have clear goals of what you want when you start, the goals can change but make the effort to think why you want to let go of the relaxer or the flat iron and it will make your transition shorter and/or easier. If you are reading this you are already in a better place from where I started because you are looking for the information a good place to look for all things curly if you already haven't check it out is Naturally Curly.
I started writing this as a list of mistakes and somewhere along the road it changed into whatever this is, a reflexion perhaps?
If you are thinking about getting back your curls, ditching the relaxer or brazilian or keratin do it when and if you feel like it the one person you can truly follow is yourself, it is a personal decision.
There are all sorts of natural hair communities, pick the one that suits you best. This is the internet and there are all sorts of things out here, but only you know what works best for you.It was not until this year (2016) that I actually started thinking about my hair as a part of me that required care, actual care.
My journey was chaotic and unplanned and it still is, but now I care. At some point I started wishing I had followed a method, documented better or had learned to style and layer products and use flexi rods and braid, but now I undestand this is my journey and I am doing it the best way I can, my own sciency chaotic way. My lack of pressure or goals and chaos resulted in taking longer to achieve whatever it is I have today but it also gave me time to understand myself & my surroundings better, not that I ever will fully understand, but I get it that there is passion and conflict around hair, I now share the passion although not the conflict. Hair might not seem like an important thing to a lot of us, but it is and we all find out along the road why it is important to us. I started my journey in Japan. People in Japan where really curious about my hair while all my life I had been quite meh about it, honestly I straightened my hair because everybody did it (technically I was not allowed to get my 1st relaxer which was awful btw, but well that is another story).
My approach to hair is positive, for me natural hair is a source of happiness. So yes, I made a lot of mistakes and I will keep making them, that is only in my nature to fail constantly; but somewhere I read that failure is essential to success. I don't feel particularly bad about my mistakes and neither should you. Learn from your mistakes evolve, adapt; but above all do things that make you happy, perhaps also healthier and wiser, but the one thing about this natural hair journey that is mandatory is happiness. If it does not make you happy let it go.