By Hadassah Agbaps - October 27, 2014

How long have I been natural?

Hi people, what's been on?

How old is your natural hair? How long have you been natural?

In the natural hair world, these questions are similar to

 "How are you?"
 where the automatic response is

"I'm fine, thank you....and you?"

So if you're asked,
 "How long have you been natural?"

 The response should easily be

 " Oh, 8 months" or " Oh one year".....right?

But it isn't so straight forward like that.....

How do you explain a situation where someone who transitioned for 8 months, cuts her relaxed hair on the 9th month.....and when you ask her,

 "How long have you been natural",
she goes,

"Oh, just 1 month..."

.... and when you look at the length of her "1 month" hair and compare it with yours get depressed......why is your 1 month growth just a short carpet of hair?!

Okay, let's take another

I've been natural all my life, abi?

 So when I get asked

"How long have you been natural?" ,

 the straightfoward answer should be,

"All my life..." right????

If we calculate my age and my length of hair, it is only reasonable I should be sweeping the floor with my unstretched kinks , right???

So how come I'm still yammering about just reaching waist length with stretched hair and shoulder length unstretched......confusing huh?

Well the truth is that,
 "How long have you been natural? " isn't a question you can ask casually to get a straight answer.

Let's go back to our transitioner.....

She transitioned for 8 months and "big chopped" in the 9th month.

 If you weren't casual with the question, you would have understood that she meant that her hair was completely natural without any relaxed hair in sight just "1 month ago"...... but the real age of her natural hair is 8 months if she cut at the beginning of the 9th month and 9 months if she cut at the end of the 9th month.

Still confused?

To put it simply, the age of her natural hair is counted from the day she stopped relaxing her hair.

It doesn't really matter what day she cut off her relaxed hair unless she considers it the day she "had all natural hair with no relaxed hair in sight".

Take for instance a short term transitioner who transitioned for 1 month before doing the big chop (big chop is simply cutting off all relaxed hair)... the age of her natural hair will be 1 month.

Let's come back to me....this may be a bit confusing but I'll make it as simple as I can....

My hair has been natural all my I can't answer "how long have you been natural?" in the context of being relaxed or transitioning....

I've had several cuts down the years so I can't really pinpoint the "day of the big chop".
 I've had really serious cuts about 3 occasions in my most times, to make it easier and for a shorter conversation, I say "7 years ago" which was the last time I had a major cut.... due to heat damage.

Now, it wasn't a skin cut and I didn't bother measuring the length of hair I you see my answer is just a general estimate.

It's more confusing when I say "This crop of hair is 7 years old".....

 Then what if the person follows up with,

 "Were you a long term transitioner or a short term  transitioner?"

Should I take transitioning to mean transitioning from heat damage?
 How about transitioning from split ends or transitioning from a dye job?
My ends are dyed ....does it mean I'm currently in transition?.......#headache.

.....and it seems I'm not the only one having this problem.

 It's very common to see pictures  of naturalistas with shoulder length hair where they go "1 year natural"....and then scroll down to read sad comments of "mine isn't growing, what did you do to make your hair grow so fast?"
Answer: Miscalculation mostly... among other things...

In my own house, there's the same problem.
My sister A who recently big chopped ...two months ago.... and transitioned for six months couldn't fully understand how her hair was still a fuzzy afro while my other sister B (the one I tried the TMS on) already had shoulder length hair at three years.....she insisted it was more than that....she included the years she was texlaxed.

I had to explain that sister B stopped all chemical treatments almost 3 years ago even though her "big chop" was roughly a year ago...... her now completely natural hair is about 3 years while sister  A's natural hair is 8 months old.

What am I saying, the day you became natural is the day you stopped all relaxer treatments not actually the day you big chopped .....unless you stopped all relaxer treatments and big chopped the same day.

So before you go asking "How long have you been natural" and " How old is your hair?" really prepared to listen to the real story.

"How long have you been natural?"

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  1. Lol! I liked reading this.

    At the point, I dunno anymore.

  2. My last relaxer was September 30, 2011 and I big chopped May 30, 2012- after exactly 8 months. But, as someone who transitioned and failed two times before, I choose to say I went natural in May 2012 because my big chop was a significant day in my journey. I was at the point where I either relaxed my hair and had long hair, (I wasn't trimming my relaxed hair off) or I cut off the straight bits. Hair gave me an ultimatum. By now, I should have 3 years growth right? NOPE. I cut my hair again two months after my BC and cut yet again, four months after that. So the first set of kinky roots I grew post-relaxer are long long gone. I wish my journey was more straightforward (that is- without the 2 extra chops), so I'd really know what 3 years of growth/retention for me should be like. Oh well, plenty of time for that. My own story is sha that I have been natural since May 2012. And when people ask how old my hair is, I count from 2012.

  3. Nice write up. Thanks for posting this and for sharing your experience. Enjoy your day! :)


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