Two different textures, two different states of mind. I would love to tell you that my transition period was one of complete love — a journey I was excited to embark upon. Like a butterfly in the midst of shedding its cocoon… but I was still very much in the caterpillar stage, inching and struggling my way to an unknown state of transformation from hate to love. Transitioning was difficult for me because I expected something completely different than the kinky textured strands that sprouted from my head.

It had been years since I had seen my natural texture, and the day I decided to go natural, I knew I needed to baby step my way through the process, versus doing the big chop. Yet transitioning was still in my face, a startling contrast of my past and present, physically materialized simultaneously. Determined to stick to my guns, I refused to turn back, partially because I was tired of the constant damage from chemicals, as well as the exhaustion of not accepting all of me, which in turn began to affect my self-perception. I didn’t realize the extent of the damage until one day when I literally spent hours trying to  alter my natural growth to seamlessly coincide with the chemically processed hair, resulting in the frustration of seeing that my kinky textured strands were not the coily curls I had imagined they would be.

Like a bat in the night I began to see more clearly and understood that my need to present a seamless demarcation line had nothing to do with the aesthetics but more to do with how I internally felt about my hair. Yes, it was a slap-in-the-face moment, but one that would eventually wake me to understand the beauty of my halo.

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Of course, like an alcoholic the first step is acknowledgment—I hated my natural hair. Even to this day I cringe to hear that but it was this truth that turned my hate to love. The process wasn’t a walk in the park but I begin to take my focus off of what I hated and refocused on the things I loved about my hair: strength, elasticity, density. Soon these factors pulled the cloak from my eyes and led to the understanding that without one I could not have the other. Not only “accepting” my natural hair but loving it.

Cipriana Quann is a former model who transitioned 10 years of fashion industry experience into, where she is Editor-in-Chief.