My hair now:
(I promise I wear normal clothes most of the time, I just never take pictures of myself unless I'm wearing something special.)
No itching. No dandruff. No shedding. Minimal maintenance. It's impossible to tell, what with my curls being so tight, but my hair is actually shoulder length now. My mom always said I have "fast hair," but it never grew that fast when it was being choked with straightening chemicals and grease. I was always getting trims or emergency haircuts, or changing styles because my current one was proving to be too high maintenance. To go literally years without seeing any growth, and now to be able to make length predictions; I can see it being well past my shoulders by this time next year, with no work on my part.
I'm pretty proud of myself for sticking with this as long as I have, only falling back on wigs when I feel my natural hair isn't formal enough for the occasion. I recently added henna to my routine, deep conditioning once a month with a Lush henna bar and it has made SUCH a difference, softening my kinks into curls and my curls into wavy curls. My hair naturally does a chunky fro look, and I don't really do anything fancy with my hair except twist it up after my weekly shampoo to help define the curls. Stick some hair pins in strategic places and go.
I still struggle with my natural hair, and I think I always will. It will never look like how I believe it should look, according to some impossibly perfect ideal in my head. But every day I come to accept it a little more. Every time I look back and see how far I've come, it makes me want to keep going and see how far I can go.
I'll do a hair check after summer. That's a nice goal.