|My hair is now BSL (16 inches at the longest point). This is the longest my hair has ever been in my adult life!|
In April 2011, after watching Kimmaytube for months, I decided to do my own grow out challenge. For 6 months I committed to gentle handling, protective styles and most importantly, no heat. Since flat ironing was the only way I used to know how to style my natural hair, this challenge was a big deal for me, not to mention the fact that prior to becoming inspired by Kimmaytube I didn't care for protective hairstyles and couldn't ever imagine myself wearing my hair like that. Click here for a mini timeline of my before pictures.
Initially I thought it might be difficult for me to put the blow dryer and flat iron away. But not too long after I got started, I was hooked! Naturally (no pun intended, lol!) there was a learning curve with technique, products, etc., but I fell in love with protective hairstyling, particularly the two-strand twist. At first I'd twist my hair for the effect: a twist-out. But then I started leaving the twists in for a few days, and I discovered that I loved the twists even more than the twist-outs! This was totally unprecedented for me because prior to embarking on this 6-month journey, I'm embarrassed to say it, but protective hairstyles really turned me off.
Now, I can't imagine living without them!
I grew up believing the myth that black women couldn't grow our hair long. When I started my GOC, I aimed to blow this myth out of the water. Empowered by Kim Love's videos, I knew I would add inches to my hair. But what I didn't expect was the passion I developed for natural hair. This passion led to hours upon hours of research as I sought to learn more about healthy hair care practices.
Then something interesting started happening.
Over the summer I started running early on Saturday mornings. Now, to be clear, I never liked running long distance. In fact I used to proudly boast about my strong distaste for the activity. But I soon became addicted to my Saturday morning runs, and I discovered that listening to praise and worship music enhanced my workouts...I could run longer, faster and harder than ever before. Not only that, but now I loved to run.
Running was only the beginning. On July 16, 2011 I rose early to have devotional time and I've been doing that ever since. In the past I had tried to commit to morning devotions, but that's just it...I tried. Trying implies you're not fully committed. And I hadn't been. But this time my circumstances were different and I made the decision to stick with it. I gained some ground and saw some spiritual growth, but it wasn't until I started an amazing book in September 2011 that my spiritual walk was enhanced infinitely.
I knew I would never be the same.
Now what does all this have to do with my hair journey? For those of you who aren't believers, I'd encourage you not to close my page just yet, because there's a message here for you too.
My GOC has been instrumental in teaching me that I have so much more to give. It made me realize that I have greatness inside of me. And I'm here to tell you: so do you. As silly as it may sound, I realized that if I could grow my hair longer than it's ever been then I also had the potential inside of me to do much more with my life. For years I'd allowed the myth about black women's hair to hold me back; I never even thought to research it. And for years I let other people's beliefs keep me mediocre.
No longer. I wasn't created to live in mediocrity. I was designed to pursue excellence.
I refuse average. Do you?