Through all my high school years I wrote fanatically in journals. I wrote in tiny writing on both sides of loose notebook paper, often six pages a night. I bound all the pages between covers that clipped together with metal fasteners. When I got about 100 pages, or when I thought a new chapter in my life was starting, I'd begin another notebook. By the time high school, and then my brief year of college (the first time I went) was over, I had thousands upon thousands of angst-filled pages written.
When I visited my mom in Kentucky last July, I grabbed as many of my old journals as I could fit in my carry-on bag to bring back with me to Seattle. When I got back, I was thumbing through the journal I wrote right after high school, during the summer before college. In it was a chunk of the hair I dissolved with a relaxer. You can even see the words "dead leaf" right above the hair clump, which describes exactly how the hair that didn't totally dissolve or fall out of my head felt when it dried. It was so crunchy that I had to cut the rest of my hair off, and was basically left with a narrow fringe of hair at the back of my neck that the relaxer hadn't touched.
How did I manage to dissolve my hair with a relaxer, you ask? Well, it takes a special person to do something like that, I tell you. I had worn locs during 12th grade, but had put them in wrong, so they were little more than pieces of a large mat that I'd cut into strips to make my locs. So I cut those off at the end of 12th grade, and was left with my curly, and still damaged hair (because I'd been bleaching it auburn). Not knowing what to do with it, I fell back into old habits, and decided to relax it.
However, it had been well over a year since I'd relaxed my hair, and I forgot how to do it. This would have been okay, except I didn't realize I'd forgotten how to do it. I thought I knew exactly how to do it. But I was wrong.
I bought my first box (yes, that's right, my first box) of relaxer, opened up the big jar, and put it on my hair. I waited about 20 minutes, rinsed it out, and saw it didn't work. It wasn't until I looked through the box later that I saw the activator bottle I'd neglected to mix in with it. So I bought another box. My reasoning being that the first time didn't do anything at all to my hair, so I could do it all again with no problem.
I was wrong. When I went to rinse out the second relaxer, it gummed up in my hair and wouldn't rinse out. I went through all my bottle of neutralizer shampoo, and had to use some of the half-used bottles my mom had saved through the years as well. And as I finally rinsed away the relaxer, my hair came out too. When I was done, the sink was filled with hair, and the hair left on my head wasn't really even hair anymore.
And being the dutiful journaler I was, when I cut away this hair, I saved some in my journal, to properly record the day. And then I went out and bought myself my first weave.