Hmmm... now where was I... oh yes, I had broken up with the relaxer tin and had grown my hair long all over again by the time I was 13! But the battle wasn't over...
At 13, my battle with being addicted to my relaxed hair didn't stop there. I got so tired of being teased and badgered about my "dry bushy hair" that I caved to the peer/family pressure and went back to relaxing at the age of 15 (the age that a lot of bloggers I've come across seemed to willingly relax their hair).
Vanity brought me to my snowy grave yet again - every 6-8 weeks, I was in the hairdresser's chair, getting my touch-ups like most other obedient servants of the relaxer regime. Every 6-8 weeks like clockwork, there I was once again and while I made a number of great friends while bonding over our "rebond", I slowly grew to loathe the fact that I was imprisoned by my hair but trying to fit the LSLH stereotype at the age of 16 dictated that your LH was long - and straight. So I continued to submit.
Of course, the continued enslavement had its ups and downs and after moving from a tropical uni-seasonal country to a place with 4 seasons (particularly in China at a time where finding many hairdressers who didn't charge you your firstborn for a can of relaxer), I found my hair caving even more to the stress of the weather and my own personal struggles. By the time I turned 22, I had been stressed to the point where locks of my hair were randomly falling to my already-low shoulders.
I realised that night that it was time to make a decision - and 2 weeks later, I sat in my mum's barber's chair and left him to cut off all my hair for the first time. I thought I would have been a lot more emotional than I was, but surprisingly, I didn't shed even one tear. As the locks fell (this time by choice!), I knew I was committing myself to letting myself be and not letting hair define who I am and something else I discovered when my barber was done - I was still the same person, inside and out. And now it was time to love me, not just my hair.
Fast forward 5 years, and I haven't gone back to the "creamy crack" since - and loving my decision. I stopped wearing the ultra-short cut about 3 years ago, which I struggled not to go back to for a long time, especially during that in-between stage where hairstyles that don't invite questions, stares or touches (even worse) from work colleagues or even people on the street - but every day, I am happy that my mother nurtured me with the love and patience that I needed to get to what I have now - a full head of healthy, shoulder-length curly-to-wavy hair that loves to do whatever it feels like, as most 3 year-olds tend to - and I just let it.