If you believe it you can achieve it! I took a big step 10 months ago and cut off a lot of colored damaged hair. All the way back down to roughly 2-4 inches of hair all over. And 10 months later I do not regret it at all! This is my photo proof that you can do it too! Don't be afraid to let go of those ratty ends because the hair that you will gain in return will be 100 times better than the ratty ends that you are getting rid of.
And I also want to say to anybody who is discouraged about length that in due time you will get it! I thought my hair would NEVER grow. Right after my initial bc I was sad sad sad. I had never had less than 2 inches above shoulder length hair, and I definitely never had nappy hair! It was a new experience for me, one that I had to adjust to. But by looking at others fotki's and online hair albums I saw that in time, if I treated my hair right by conditioning, protective styling, and easy handling of my hair (ie, no pulling, tugging, heat, tight hairstyles etc), I could see the same level of success too! And I just want to let anybody out there who may be down and about about their hair to just hold on, be patient, and you will get there!
But you have to stay strong.
In some places when I stretch my hair now I am at apl (just when I stretch my hair down from the front...for some reason if you stretch your hair from the back your hair can seem a little shorter). Not counting some trouble spots, the majority of my hair is anywhere from 7-9 inches in length with the longest peice I stretched being 10 inches :). I am quite pleased especially since I have been cutting my hair like crazy, with one major chop last year and chops here and there since January, and since I got my last perm in March 2006, dyed all that hair then chopped it off, and my hair is at 10 inches or so, means my hair HAS to grow faster than 1/2 inch a month...it has to....
Anyways, on May 23 I began braiding my hair because on May 22 I decided to take my twists out after 22 days of wearing them for whatever reason. It was a stupid decision because my family was throwing my Father (who is doing well by the way) a suprise appreciation dinner (I will show you guys a picture of my father and how he is doing later) and I had NO time the day of to do my hair and the dinner was at 2 pm. I had to be at work at 7am the day of. I am quite pleased at how they turned out considering I used a hairstick and my fingers. If you look my parts are actually more straighter now then they were when I used the comb as well too....
Look What I Can Do: