The “big chop” isn’t for everyone but after months of going back and forth on the decision, I finally decided to take the plunge!
Since I’d been chronicling my natural hair journey thus far (read more here), it was only natural (pun intended) to give you background on why I decided to do the “big chop”. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the term big chop, it’s basically when someone cuts off all the damaged or over-processed hair.
I started wearing my hair natural in February of 2019 after a trip to Cancun where I’d gotten my hair wet and didn’t have my regular tools and products to blow out and straighten my hair. Once back in the states, I liked the change and figured I’d wear it natural for a little while longer. Time passed and I realized that I’d been chemically relaxing my hair straight for all the wrong reason – i.e. society. I’d learned at an early age that curly hair wasn’t professional or pretty. Most women of color are groomed to believe this so I made sure my hair always looked it’s best at all costs.
But after the Cancun debacle, weeks had passed and I enjoyed not having to slave over my hair to have it stick straight. I also started to notice women rocking their natural locks all over the place, especially in main-stream media. How had I never noticed it before?
Fast forward to December and I’d been wearing my hair natural now for 10 months. In those 10 months, I considered chopping it all off several times. I was so over the transition period – some parts of my hair were curly while others were straight – it was so much maintenance and so unpredictable. I was having trouble finding ways of styling my hair plus some products would work on parts of my hair while others didn’t. It was such a learning curve and I was at my whits end, however, I wasn’t willing to get back on the relaxer train.
But then something happened, I finally felt brave enough to take the plunge – to get rid of all the chemically, processed hair. So I’d consulted with a legit curl specialist and we talked about my options, maintenance, and just how short she recommended taking my cut. On the day of my hair appointment, I remember feeling really excited about the change and the satisfaction of being al natural.
When my stylist revealed my TWA (Teeny Weeny Afro), I recall being in complete shock. Had I made a mistake? Did I look like a dude? Do I still look feminine? It was a lot of change in a very short period of time. On that first day, I felt exposed and vulnerable. It wasn’t until that moment that I realized how much I had relied on the comfortability of my hair. There was nothing for me to hide behind anymore.
As the sun set on that first day, the tide turned almost immediately. I felt empowered, brave, and less weighed down. Less weighed down by society’s expectations, by the message that was engrained in me to look a certain way, by everything I had been holding on to. I also felt vulnerable, but vulnerable in a way that made me feel like I could conquer anything that came my way.
This is me on my healthy hair journey. If you’re on the fence about whether or not you should do the big chop, I hope I’ve inspired you to take the leap!