So FB had an, 'On This Day' notice on my feed screen. It was a year ago today that I announced my BIG CHOP!! It feels like a lifetime ago and it has grown so much! I look back now and wonder what took me so long!? And what was the big fuss anyway? I remember this day last year; it was a Saturday. I was in the salon discussing with my stylist what we should do to my hair that day. I had been growing it out for about 8 months and it was in that weird in between stage, nappy at the roots, straight at the ends. I had wanted to try so many natural styles, but the relaxed ends did not allow for it. Although I wanted to do a big chop desperately, I was not sure how my employers would accept it. I had already been called out about how my business casual attire was leaning a little much to casual and less business.
So needless to say, I was nervous. My stylist, Trina, has been doing my hair since I was 16. She has done my hair for 2 proms, 3 graduations, countless dinners, dates, galas, events, parties and if it happens within either of our lifetimes, I intend for her to do my wedding hair as well. She knows me. We have barely spoken words and she will know exactly the style I am looking for. So I was able to discuss my concerns and she put me at ease. I vividly remember us at the shampoo bowl, I was seated and she prayed over my hair. She asked God to guide us. The option that day was add weave or chop it off. I know this sounds crazy, but the Holy Spirit (yes she guides in all avenues of life) urged me to chop it off. I said to Trina, ‘let’s do it’. And we did. The moment she began to cut, I felt a bit nervous. But when I swiveled my chair and looked directly into the mirror, I was shocked but mainly, instantly liberated! It felt good. It looked good. I looked good. I was giddy, and had a fuck it attitude. I felt rebellious and little revolutionary. This was my hair, take it or leave it.
I have since simmered down my, ‘I am a Black woman, hear me roar!’ attitude. Lo and behold, I had a great workable texture underneath all of my relaxed tresses. Now, I see my stylist less frequently as I have managed to maintain my hair on my own. It has become a welcomed ritual to wash it, twist it, coil it or just let it be. On any given Friday, Saturday or Sunday night, you may not find me out at a club, bar or lounge, but at home doing my hair instead. Becoming it’s master and not letting it rule me has been exhilarating. I have conquered all of my major hair fears and concerns.
I cannot tell you how many conversations I have about it on a regular basis. Strangers, men and women alike, all nationalities ask me about my hair. It simply fascinates some and makes believers out of others. The urban girls ask if I have a straw set, when I have just pulled apart my coiled curls. Professional brothas lament on how they wish their hair would do what mine does after a wash-n-wear morning, but they cannot stand the grow out process. A Korean co-worker stands over me while I am seated and asks how I get my hair to coil so perfectly, to which I responded, ‘it just does that by itself.’ Just last week, a city commissioner asked me how I got my hair to ‘do that’. I gave her a quick tutorial and we swapped e-mails for any follow-up questions. I have house call requests and one girlfriend, not knowing most of my styles I had done myself, wants me to do her hair in the future. I even have curious men ask a series of questions; they want their wives to go natural, but are having trouble convincing them to do so. And I cannot count the number of times, people have hypnotically reached out and touched, pulled and grabbed my hair. Unable to help themselves it would seem. Plus, contrary to my initial thought, brothas LOVE it!
It is all love and it is all good. I absolutely love my hair, more than ever. I encourage others to chop it off and go natural at least once, if only to experience it in it’s rawness. Like most black girls of my generation and earlier, we had ‘perms’ and press-n-curls at such an early age, we did not get to fully experience our hair. So much time was spent trying to make it manageable. My major fear with chopping it was, ‘what will it look like?’. Now I know, and I have a hard time imagining me going back.