“Are you sure you really want to cut all of this beautiful hair?” The stylist asked me for the umpteenth time since I sat in her chair 15 minutes prior. My two friends, one on my left, one on my right nodded in agreement with her. In my head I remember thinking… ‘Yeap I’m sure that I’m unsure”…but aloud I smiled and told her to go for it. The first locks seemed to fall in slow motion to the ground and I briefly felt as if small parts of my soul were being snipped away with each strand that fell at my feet. But it was definitely to late to turn back. 3 1/2 years of struggling with my natural loose thick curls down the drain; 3 1/2 years of growth, funk and tears all gone. In less than 15 minutes….thankfully what remained was one kick ass hair cut or I would’ve been screwed.
Almost a full year later I’m realizing that my choice to “start over with my hair” was much needed and it opened bigger doors for even thicker, more coily hair as well as more growth, funk and tears. 4 1/2 almost 5 years ago when I decided to “go natural” I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. All I knew is that I wasn’t happy with the relaxers I’d been getting since early high school and I was growing out of the stage in my life where I felt that I had to look like everyone else to “fit in” or be “accepted” and it was time for a change.
I decided to transition (an approximate 2 year process b/w 2011 and 2013 from a short bob because the dreaded “big chop” just wasn’t for me at the time…okay honestly I was scared… My hometown stylist tried to help but natural hair wasn’t a “thing” back then so she tried where she could and we learned together. My main educational tools were YouTube and natural blogs like my own until I recently. Thankfully within the last year I connected a stylist in the Charleston area that constantly provides me with tips and advice.
I always knew I would eventually cut my hair drastically for the heck of it, I just never knew when the time would be right. Until I randomly made up my mind shortly before my 21st birthday and went for it. As my 23rd birthday approaches -June 9th for anyone who cares- I look back on that decision feeling extremely content and happy with myself for taking the so called leap of faith.
I left the salon that day as an extremely scissor happy addict who spent the following 3-4 months experimenting with different cuts and shapes-the perks of having a barber as a friend, thanks Kionne- and rediscovering myself. I maintained short styles all through the winter but made the decision to start growing my hair back out while I spent my last semester in college abroad in Havana, Cuba. Seeing all those beautiful women with long beautiful hair in all colors and textures caused me to miss my own and again I was ready for a change.
Since then my hair has almost grown back to its original length pre-chop. This time around my hair is THICKER (omg!!) more versatile and the curls/coils are tighter and more defined. Before I couldn’t twist my hair without binding the ends with rods, or rollers and then I couldn’t wear those twists out in public because they wouldn’t last a full day. I didn’t realize the limitations I had with my hair until I experienced the freedom a chop gave me. I am by no means implicating that a chop is necessary for anyone frustrated with their current hair limitations. I consulted with the stylist who cut my hair initially and then with my barber friend before each style that we attempted. I suggest you you do the same for any drastic change to your locks. However, I am encouraging you to go for it! If you are considering going natural or if you already are and just want to try something new don’t be afraid jus do it! Don’t let anyone tell you “you don’t have the “look” for it or “you’ll be stuck in a awkward rut” or my favorite “your hair will never grow back”. You don’t know what you can do until you try. The young woman that walked into that salon last year was not the same one that left, nor is she the same one typing this blog post out in the parking lot of her job… Thankfully that young woman has grown. The changes she made to her hair may not have directly attributed to her new found confidence and individual growth but It definitely influenced her love for herself and and her love for expressing inner beauty within and among others.