While my hair was straight, I made sure to assess whether my protective styling was successful or not. So, I took the time to just explore it checking for any signs of breakage, split ends, or anything that could have happened while I had my box braids. I may have failed at capturing a post-worthy pic of its length, but not of my nape progress. I am so excited about how the box braids helped my nape grow out! I think I retained more length at my nape in this period of time than I have in a long time. It has actually made me consider protective styling more often even though I'm not the biggest fan of it. I like playing in my hair too much. But hey, if that's what it takes to get my nape healthy, I'm game for the sacrifice!
It has only been a couple months since I initially posted about my nape troubles back in November. I'm happy to already see some progress with the changes that I've made. My biggest hurdle has been keeping my hands out of it!! But I finally got to the point where I am conscious of staying out of it. That coupled with being diligent about moisturizing and sealing and protecting it has helped get it on the road to recovery. It still may not compare to the rest of my hair, but I believe it's on it's way there and that is what I'm happy about.
As for the length of my hair, it seems to be doing quite well, too! I feel like my ends are getting thicker, I don't have the empty spaces I had after my last trim, my hemline is nice and I retained some length as well. Although my bone straight ends are still much thinner in comparison, they're still yet holding on. I'll probably trim more of them away in a few more months. I'm not worried about them right now.
Basically, I'm very happy with the current state (read: health) of my hair. Yet, at a solid 6 months post relaxer, I've started getting antsy with all this new growth. It is more work balancing the three textures on my head and I started questioning whyyy I was continuing in such a long stretch. I've definitely been having good wash days since taking my braids out, but they are still more work than usual. I'm happy that I've been able to figure out what to do with all the textures on my head to keep them happy because I never thought I would be able to handle a stretch like this without any plans to transition. It makes me feel good about the time and effort I have put into both learning about and taking care of my hair. It continues to pay off.
Sooo... if you're so happy with your hair, why are you talking about relaxing it, Melanie?? Glad you asked. The first reason is because I am not going natural right now so I can't find a good reason to continue stretching. One of the main goals of stretching is to make sure you have enough new growth to relax without risking over-processing by relaxing hair twice - check. I usually relax when my hair gets to the point that it's being extra aka making me work more than I'd like to and/or testing my patience a tad bit too much - check. I don't really consider relaxing to be rocking the boat or anything because, to me, the goal of any stretch is for it to go well start to finish. Just because it's going well does not mean it shouldn't end, it means you've gotten good at stretching! Yaaay!
Of course, I don't think there's anything wrong with women who are serial stretchers, stretching for six months or more without the consideration of relaxing. I follow a number of ladies, on YouTube especially, that stretch this way and it works really well for them. Kudos to you ladies! As for me, I want to quit while I'm ahead. I don't want to wait til I run into trouble or breakage before I relax. I don't want to have to start being even more careful with my line(s) of demarcation. And I don't want to start facing any of the woes transitioners face when I'm not even ready to transition. I want my much easier to manage, but still textured hair back. I think I will probably not plan for the length of my stretches anymore because there's no telling how long it'll be before I get to this point again. But hey, whether it's 12 weeks, 16 weeks, or 25 weeks, it'll be okay because I'm a relaxed-haired girl and this is what I do. I think one thing that's cool about these healthy hair lifestyles is making them your own. Do what works for you!
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