The Natural Hair Journey of Stacey Fletcher

9:11 AM Keenya Kelly 1 Comments

(Ever met someone and immediately you loved them??? THIS IS HER) LOVE HER!!!

How long have you been natural?
Almost 2 full years (my nappiversary is 7/24).  I haven't had a relaxer since October 2008.

What made you decide to go natural?
I had stretched my relaxer for a few months during the winter and decided to keep it going since I always planned to go natural eventually.  It became a personal challenge.

What did you do to transition to Natural?
I didn't even know that what I was doing had a name until about halfway through.  I alternated between braids and wearing my hair pulled back or up in a bun.  I used the same products from being relaxed (Design Essentials).  I would wear a braided style for a month and then wear my hair in a bun for two weeks.  I washed my hair ever two weeks when it was "out", but I didn't wash my braids.  

Why did you opt out of the Big Chop?
I had Black girl-long hair for most of my life.  I have a round face and, um, prominent lips and cheeks and thought I would look like my own baby picture with a short fro.

What did and do your friends and family think about you going natural?
I had several friends who were natural, who mostly wore their hair straight who were very supportive, but some were skeptical about me wearing it naturally.  My family was supportive overall, but my Granny had a real hard time.  She offered me money to get a touch-up and often said "I hate it, I hate it!"  She stopped fussing after she noticed the growth.  When I attributed it to double-strand twists, she became VERY pro-twist!  Now, she's proud of how big/long my hair is and that it's all natural, but I try not to visit her when my hair has been straightened to avoid reigniting the flames!

Did it matter to you?
My Granny's comments didn't deter me from my decision, but it did make me sad because we're so close.  We actually had the "good hair/bad hair" talk which upset me because I wasn't raised to be color conscious, so I never expected my hair texture to be an issue.  When I pointed out that she was natural, too, she emphatically stated, "But I have GOOD hair".  So I told her, "I have GREAT hair!".  Every time she'd say "I hate it", I'd kiss her and say "well, I'm not crazy about your dementia, either".

Have you ever had self esteem issues?
From time to time, but not regarding my hair.  I've had issues regarding my weight because I get teased a lot for being small and when I was younger, I would get the odd comment about my cheeks or lips.  Someone once asked me if I was fat and never lost the weight from my face.  At 31, my cheeks are still pretty full.  I look in the mirror and visit w/my dad, who had the same ones.  Instead of my baby picture, I look like my dad when he and my mom met, just with a bigger fro!

A lot of women battle with needing to be light-skinned
 with long hair....have you ever had that issue?
I hate the intra-racism thing!  My family is every shade of the rainbow and I'm lighter than a lot of my family, including my parents and all of my GPs.  My role model was my Aunt Terri, a short, athletically built, dark-skinned woman who was the first female drum major at Shaw AND Miss Freshman!  I used to look like the typical "Hampton Girl", longish hair and light skin.  After I cut my hair, I would look at pics of myself and it felt like I was looking at really old pics from a different time.  I have a length goal, but it's just for me, not to fit anyone's idea of what I should look like.  I have always viewed my intellect as a more significant part of my identity than my complexion and hair length, because it's the part that I have control over.

Do you have any challenges in your professional environment with your natural hair
I'm blessed to work in a field where I have not run into any issues with natural hair.  Yay, for human services!  Also, it's often a good icebreaker with new clients.  

What have men said to you about your hair?
I get more play off of my natural hair than I EVER did off of my straight hair!!!  I've been offered drinks after being complimented on my hair, guys like to touch it, play in it, smell it, etc...  I can only recall one negative comment about my hair from a man.  After seeing me with my hair blown out and silk wrapped for a length check/trim, he said that he thought straight hair was more "me".  I asked him what was more "me" than the hair God blessed me with?  He's a devout Jehovah's Witness, so I was very disappointed in his opinion.

What's your favorite thing about being natural?
Not being afraid of water!  I love to swim and I love summer rain.    

Least Favorite thing?
Single strand knots!  And stylists who aren't patient enough to avoid inflicting them!

What products have you been trying out on your hair?
I've tried the Darcy Botanicals curl defining jelly I picked up at the Natural Hair Extravaganza and I've tried Moroccan oil (also picked up at the Extravaganza).  

What's your Fave?
Yes to Cucumbers conditioner

Least Fave?
Gel as a curl definer.  It makes my hair dry and crunchy.  Ick!

What's your hair type?
I would say 4A/4B with a pinch of 3C at the nape.  When I do wash and gos, I look like I have a rattail.  

How often do you deep condition your hair? What do you use?
Every time I wash my hair, unless I'm in a real hurry!  I switch it up depending on what I'm reviewing for my blog, but I like QP Elasta DPR-11, Suave Almond & Shea Butter, or coconut cream.  And I usually add 2 TBS of honey since it's warm now.  I DC with olive oil and just a little honey during the winter.  I DC for at least 30 minutes.

What is your weekly regimine?
I pre-poo with conditioner, olive oil, and honey on damp, finger detangled hair for at least 30 minutes.  Then I co-wash with Giovanni Moisture Max (twice), rinsing with lukeward water.  Next, I DC.  I do the final rinse with leftover bottled water (I never finish a bottle :(  or some apple cider vinegar in a bottle of water.  I put 3 handfuls of YTC conditioner in it, a handful of YTC leave-in conditioner, and seal w/shea butter, castor oil, or QP Elasta Mango Olive Oil hair butter, detangle and twist into medium-sized twists.

What would you say to someone considering going natural or one struggling with their natural hair?
"Don't go natural with a preconceived idea, because it usually turns out differently.  Be patient and enjoy the journey."  Going natural is the best thing I ever did for myself and learning how to take care of my hair is half the fun of being natural.  

Any final comments: 
Thanks for interviewing me!  I love talking about natural hair and I always hope I can be an encouragement.  

"History is not a procession of illustrious people. It's about what happens to a people. Millions of anonymous people is what history is about."~James Baldwin

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the love, Keenya! I had kinda forgotten about this. Girl, ADHD is real! Thanks so much for featuring me. I can't wait to feature you on my blog! (hint, hint)