Hair and skincare have been essential to me. I served in the United States Air Force for over twenty years. My efforts were intensified as I began to live and work on an international level. Each region in the United States that I lived in was different. My hair and skin were affected with each move. I had to change my products to retain my length.
My health journey has been a constant cycle for me. I dealt with several medical concerns. In order to remain in the military and support my son, I had to continuously adjust my mindset and behaviors to remain as healthy as possible. Doing so ensured that I was able to manage my workload, my household, and that biannual physical fitness exam. One superior put often told me that “it was time to hang up the uniform.”
My efforts to maintain my health included my hair and skin. Having to move every few years to different regions of the United States and overseas caused me to have to adjust how I managed my hair and body. The trick for my body was to find a form of exercise that was productive by did not trigger fatigue or other symptoms.
The trick for my hair was to adjust my regimen to accommodate the change in climate. We tend to think that when we move to a new location or the next level, we can continue performing the same way. This is not the case. We must be willing to adjust our thoughts, behaviors and inner circle.
In 2015 my health was drastically declining. My doctor informed me that I was going to have to make a decision. I saw several specialists and they agreed. To ensure that I was making the right decision for myself, I began to research my condition, less evasive treatment options and what possibly caused it.
My research led me to alarming data. I learned that by age fifty, 80% of African American women will be diagnosed with uterine fibroids. I was astounded. Digging a little deeper, I find out that fibroids are the number one cause of hysterectomies and other reproductive issues. ALSO, several studies have linked the ingredients in African American beauty products to these infertility, fibroids, and ovarian cysts. With my health failing, my hair thinning and my alopecia continuously flaring up I decided that I needed to make a change.
Pictures of my hair when it was
thinning and my alopecia
December 14, 2014, I cut my relaxed hair off. The final length of my natural hair (big chop) was ¼ of an inch. These are pictures of my progress. I created a hair regimen that I followed weekly. I often hear people say, "my hair does not grow.' Often, growth isn't the issue; retention is. I discuss this further in my "Hair Say What" blog series. I only had to trim my hair three times between 2014 and 2017. See the photograph below.
Top Right Nov-16
Middle Right Dec-15
Bottom Right Dec-14
I decided to use this time to heal from the inside out. I promised to give myself a two-year grace period. During this time, I would not relax, cut, or dye to my. I began to research alternative natural hair care and body products that were safe, good quality and didn’t break my spending plan. To my dismay, I was not able to find anything that I loved. So I began to make my hair and body butters. As the years passed I began to give my butters as a gift. People loved the product and wanted more. One day in a store my son told me that I should begin to sell the product and provided a whole business plan. I launched RESPiREbyDESiGN.com as a birthday gift to myself while living in the United Kingdom.
In 2019 decided to add color. I did this once a year for two years. I loved the color, unfortunately it caused breakage. 2020 I retired from the military and wore my hair loose and big for twelve months. By January 2021 my hair had reached my goal BSL. I decided it was time to make a decision loc my hair or cut it.
January 20th, 2021 the nations leadership changed, my discipline changed, and I began my loc journey began.