i swear to my hair

For those of you who didn't know me before college, it may come as a shock to you to know that my hair has changed quite a bit over the years and that it is FAR from what it's supposed to be naturally. Growing up, I HATED my hair. HATED IT. This is what it looked like in my sophomore year:

Yeah. It was a total lion's main right? I wanted desperately to have beautiful straight hair like all the Asian girls in school. I'm almost half Japanese, but it DEFINITELY doesn't show up in the strands on my head.

Something like that would've been nice...(I KNOW she's not Japanese...)

BUT it's just not a part of my genetic destiny.

So I was THRILLED beyond comprehension when my mom offered me the PERFECT graduation gift: To get my hair chemically straightened. I thought this would solve all my I-hate-the-way-i-look issues and she took me to see a friend of hers who owns a salon and who does AMAZING transformations on Polynesian hair, which is different from African or Latino hair. I hopped in that chair and 3 hours later felt like Miss America needed to MOVE OVER. *enter chorus of angels*

Well, you know how when you mow the lawn, you can't just mow it once and expect the grass to stay short. The little buggers just keep growing. In a few months, my roots started to show. But instead of say blonde roots on someone who died their hair brown, I had little kinky roots starting to show which abruptly shifted to my straight ends. I attacked them with my straightening iron, trying to tame the tresses, but to no avail. The only thing worse than having poofy hair, is having half poofy, half straight hair. I'll spare myself the humiliation of putting up a pic and just let you use your imagination.

I chemically straightened my hair one more time before I stopped and haven't looked back, but I spent the next several years flat ironing my hair, which produced good results but killed my hair. Now I only take a flat iron to it for special occasions, but don't really feel good about that anymore. Now my hair is somewhere in between flat and poofy - like it's not sure what it should be. Guess what? I HATE IT!

Truth is, my hair was beautiful the way it was. Beautiful and thick and healthy and I cared too much about wanting to fit in to see it. I think now I'm finally mature enough to love myself the way I am (that and I don't have 40 minutes in the morning to straighten my hair.) I know I sound like a cheating ex-boyfriend but I want my natural locks back - especially now that my postpartum hormonal swagger is taking out my hair faster than Britney Spears with a razor. I don't know if my PTSD hair will ever be the same after the beating it took, but I'm going to try to make amends and help it grow by doing the following:

1) I will NOT succumb to any permanent chemical treatment.

2) I will not heat style my hair. That means hair driers, straightening irons, or regular irons (yes I did actually IRON my hair back in high school and got a burn on my neck that looked like a hickey. Haven't done it since but it does fall under the category of "heat styling" so I have to mention it.)

3) I will keep my ends healthy by giving it a trim every 3-4 months.

4) I will only use quality hair care products on my hair.

5) I will brush GENTLY. Usually I yank on my hair like I'm pulling a wax strip or something.

6) I will strive to eat a healthier diet - lots of nutrients = healthy hair.

7) And if all else fails, I'll get pregnant again. I LOVE my pregnant hair! Nah...that's not very sustainable.

Got any tips for keeping your hair healthy and happy?