Halloween is coming upon us therefore I am in the mood to account a horrific tale of extraordinary proportions…. well, maybe I am being way too dramatic perhaps it wasn’t of “extraordinary proportions” but still horrific never less, with that being said let me cut to the chase of my story.

Two years ago sometime in December …WAIT one minute ladies and let me rephrase and not play myself as if I don’t remember the date and time of my major hair setback.  So at 11:15 PM, Monday December 13th 2009 to be exact, my hair suffered its worse and most traumatic setback of all time since the very first time I lost most of my hair from a relaxer. You may be wondering what that setback could have been or perhaps you have already guessed with the insinuating featured picture above but all I know is that I remember my experience like it was yesterday!

It was just another ordinary day, as the cold brisk December wind whipped through the air (I would have said “the cold brisk December wind whipped through my “hair” but 2 years ago my hair was overloaded with so many products that my hair was not whipping anywhere). I was out at the Rose Bar in Brooklyn with my boyfriend to watch my sister perform an amazing guest set with some spectacular musicians, as the show came to an end we all decided to head into the city to a soul lounge/bar/eatery called Tillman’s for a couple of drinks, where my sister’s boyfriend was managing at the time. Now this is when everything turned for the worse.

As we entered Tillman’s my boyfriend and I chose a booth instead of a table to sit at while my sister sat a couple of tables ahead to be closer to her man while he was working. As my boyfriend helped me take off my coat, he then walked over to talk with my sister’s boyfriend. I was starving so as I picked up the menu and was deciding between the “The Mack” which consisted of Elbow Macaroni, Apple Smoked Bacon with Garden Peas, Fresh Sage, Sweet Mascarpone Cheese and Parmesan Cheese topped with Golden Brown Bread Crumbs or the “Brie and Spiced Pear Grilled Cheese” with Black Truffle Butter or what the heck perhaps both selections, mother nature kicked in and I all of sudden had to use the bathroom. So as I proceeded to bend over to scoot myself from the booth, I failed to see a tiny little tea candle at the center of the table. Yes, this tea candle seemed very cute and harmless at the time but since my hair was overloaded with mineral oils and flammable products this seemingly innocent tea candle quickly transformed into an ugly, evil, fire-breathing propane tank out to purposely destroy every single strand on my head. So within seconds my hair was in flames! No, I am not talking about the ends of my hair dipped in the candle and singed off, I mean actual to goodness real live sparking flames. It seems that as I was bending over to scoot my-self out of the booth, the ends of my beloved “loose twist side ponytail”

(this pic was taken after the fire about a year ago) which I wore religiously during the winter season had hovered right over the candle and that is all it took with my hair drenched in flammable product some” hovering” action. The funny thing about this NOW is that my hair is so thick I didn’t even notice my hair was aflame until my sister yelled from a few tables down well actually screamed “CIPRIANA YOUR HAIR IS ON FIRE” so as she was running over my hands instantly went to my hair to smother the flames but before I could, my boyfriend instantly smothered the flames for me, simultaneously with a downpour of water that came from a bucket that was heaved from the bar by my sister’s boyfriend. Yes, when I think about this story now, very amusing but only because no one or my-self was seriously injured, the only damage was contained to my hair and that I am very grateful for but I am not going to lie, tears were shed for the damage that did occur.

The Damage

After I was standing in the middle of Tillman’s drenched, traumatized and reeking with the stench of burning hair which was further confirmed as a busser, who was the only one who missed all the action, walked by and said “whoa something smells like burning hair”. My sister led me downstairs to the bathroom to console me as I tried to convince her and myself the damage was not that bad but my logic quickly turned to mush as my hair began falling out in clumps in the bathroom sink and the tears quickly followed. Yes I cried and I am not afraid to admit got damn it! After just celebrating my hair’s birthday of turning 3 years old in November of 2009, within seconds I lost a little under a year and half worth of growth, about 8 inches.

The Recovery

As my boyfriend and I arrived home, I was still in the act of producing and doing a great job of creating a small tsunami from my tears. I have to give props to my man though because he said the smell wasn’t that bad (it was) and just added a new aroma to the room “of logs in a fireplace” which he didn’t mind and also added I looked sexy with my new asymmetrical hair cut by fire. I told him stop making jokes which was only his way in consoling which angered me then reduced me to a blubbering fool once more.  I later found out he wasn’t joking and meant every word. The next morning I woke up still upset and angry in that I should have been more observant but the traumatized state was now gone. Soon common sense took ahold and I kept thinking it could have been worse! I could have lost all of my hair and damage to my scalp and face as well. This pretty quickly put things into prospective in how lucky I was and with this new prospective the tears stopped and the anger subsided.

A New Outlook

They say everything happens for a reason. Who knows if this can be relayed to everything in life because there are so many traumatizing and horrific experiences that make my hair story look like a grain of sand but I did try to find something I could learn from this experience. So, I accessed why my hair raged in flames instead of simply singeing off and as I mentioned before the answer was of course the flammable products I was using. Not only was I using flammable products but in abundance!!!  There was some serious Coming to America “Soul Glo” action going on.  I was literally smothering my strands long before the flames took ahold and yes an abundance of products was a religious ritual for my strands for almost a decade, in which a many of pillow cases and clothing were perished to oblivion but it took this one incident to open my eyes and try something new. The truth is, I never thought about changing my routine or product usage because my hair grew fine without any ill effects but I noticed the changes in my hair as my strands responded for the better to less usage of mineral oil and extremely flammable products. Then as I switched to all natural products, symptoms such as dandruff, constantly dry hair, excessive shedding and split ends seemed to dissipate all together. This transformation would most likely not have come to reality if not for “the incident”.

How I Overcame or Physically Dealing with Look of My Damaged Hair

I would like to say then with all of my new found revelations that I became to accept and love the look of my fresh, burnt and asymmetrical cut but I didn’t and that was ok. What was important was I found a healthy style which was small tight twists with extensions added in for length to help me mentally through my growing process once again. So after cutting off the rest of the damaged hair and placing the small tight twists in this was my style for a year, which helped me take the focus off of a daily reminder of the incident but let’s just say till this day when it comes to candles I have a third eye.

Ladies what are you hair setback stories?