Monday, May 3, 2010

Will what got me here get me there? My thoughts on achieving the next hair length goal

The other day, while standing in line at a local dine in restaurant, I noticed a customer already ahead of me waiting in line. What caught my eye specifically was her lovely waist-length dark hair. In days past, I would glance only momentarily at such a head of hair before moving on to my next thought. Recently, however, I find myself gazing longingly at low mid-back/waist-length hair. More and more, I am beginning to covet every waist length head of hair that enters my line of sight. I take this as a sign that it's now time to update my hair length goals. Up until now, I rarely focused on reaching specified lengths. I merely focused my energy on discovering ways to impact the health of the hair. While I have gained length along the way, I can honestly say that I haven't focused much on gaining inches as a major priority.

So now I'm in a place where I have to think realistically about how I intend to reach these new lengths. First off, I am not under any impression that obtaining waist length will be easy. On the contrary, I believe that "what got me here won't get me there" with regards to my habits and hair practices. At the moment, I'm at my current length because the consistent actions I've taken up until now create the head of hair I have today. Sure, I may be doing all the right things with regards to washing, conditioning and such, but I'm probably also doing (or not doing) things that keep me at a certain length as time passes.

I'm not making these statements to knock any of my progress thus far. In fact, I'm really happy with all of the progress and learning I've experienced up to this moment. At the same time, I completely understand that with wanting to get to the next level more will be required of me. So now I'm at a place where I am looking critically at all of the patterns and behaviors I carry out related to my hair routines. Without much thought I can easily identify that which holds me back. For the sake of being totally transparent, I'll list some of them below:
  • I can't (for the like of me) seem to keep a bun in for longer than 48 hours straight. The thought of wearing a bun for 3-4 weeks (or longer) just pains me.
  • Every 10-15 minutes. I fondle my hair. There's no way around it. In fact, I will take various opportunities while writing this post to touch my hair.
  • Co-washing between washes feels like somewhat of a burden. Rarely do I wash more than once every 4-6 days.
Mind you, these habits aren't the end of the world, but you can see how I can easily graduate to the next level if only I could overcome the negative repercussions of my naughty hair habits. So now my thoughts are buzzing with the question "can I reach low mid-back/waist length hair if I continue to do what I do today?" If I could honestly answer this question by saying "yes", then I'm in a good place. If, on the other hand, my honest assessment is that I likely won't get to waist length. Then the next question I have to answer is "what's it gonna take?"

Before I answer the "what's it gonna take" question, I first have to identify the negative repercussions of continuing the actions that currently hold me back.

As I review the list above, I come to the following conclusions:
  • Lack of consistent protective styling exposes my ends to the drying effects of air. Hair that battles with dryness is likely to be prone to breakage. Breakage is the great hinderer of retention and by stifling my retention rate, I assume the risk of not reaching my length goal.
  • Frequent manipulation of my hair can also encourage breakage.
So now I come to a place where I must decide if the repercussions of the negative habits are severe enough to influence a change in my actions so I can experience the results I desire. At this point in time, I'm remain stubborn on not being willing to drastically change those habits. I am motivated, however, to identify and instill some additional strategies that will help minimize the impact of the negative results. This means finding out other ways to fortify the hair to withstand some of the unwanted side effects of frequent manipulation and excessive exposure to air.

.....this will be my area of focus over the next several months......

I don't yet have the solution, but I have implemented a few ideas that have already shown some considerable promise. Some of my other ideas, however, have produced disappointing outcomes. Either way, my focus remains steadfast as I move slowly towards the finish line. The finish line, which seems incredibly far away considering the few unhealthy habits that serve as a handicap. Even though low mid-back may take a bit longer than someone else in the same scenario who hides and doesn't constantly fondle their hair, it is not an impossible task. If courageous individuals born without natural limbs can win foot races, a fondling non-protective styler like me can have long hair.

So what about you?

What hair goals are you striving for at the moment? Do you have any hindering habits that keep you from moving forward? Are those habits worth holding on to despite their obvious repercussions?

You want to take it to the next level....What's it gonna take?

  1. I took want to get to the next level. I have only been on my journey for 6 months. I have had some hits and some misses. I have learned alot about paying attention to what my hair needs at the time. I too do not like to co-wash. I feel when I get into my stretches(8 weeks and beyond) that co-washing would be too much manipulation. I feel I should do less manipulation when my new growth is thickerr. I can also see the flip side that co-washes will help soften my hair and make the area where the new growth and relaxed hair meet more manageable and less prone to breakage.

  2. My last stretch was 14 weeks. I had alot of breakage from about 8-14 weeks. My main problem was I was having a hard time keeping my hair moisturized and was impatient detangling. This time I am more careful and am noticing less breakage. I try to add moisture to my hair whenever I can like not using a shower cap when I shower. That has added moisture to my hair. (I got that tip from a Youtuber, I must thank her for that tip). I just got my JBCO and love it. Keeping my ends moisturized for the last several weeks has seen an improvement in length retention already. I do get bored of bunning but try other styles, ie loving my banana clip.