Tuesday, January 8, 2013

So I did the Big Chop…

Yes. I. Did. The. Big. Chop.

When: December 16, 2012.

Where: Linstead, Jam-Rock

I woke up that morning and said today I would cut off all my relaxer. This may have seemed quite spontaneous but actually it wasn’t. I’d been contemplating the idea for months in advance though I hadn’t made a definite decision to do so. Part of me wanted to end the year with a new ‘do and attitude. The other part of me thought it sentimental and honorary to do it on the anniversary of my last relaxer (March 3, 2012). When I’d throw the idea out to well-meaning friends and family, I’d get the “Why so soon?”, “Let your hair grow out a bit more” (by then they had given up on trying to talk me out of going natural). But there were two very strong arguments against waiting. I will discuss them below:

1.       It Takes Too Damn Long to Detangle My Hair!

Saturday nights are designated for washing/conditioning/maybe deep treatment/detangling/setting. The washing/conditioning isn’t so bad. I mean all you have to do is apply and massage into your scalp and hair and rinse. Sounds easy enough, right? Yes! But then comes the detangling part. OMG! This was by far the worst part of my hair regimen. Besides the fact that I had two different hair textures dealing with, my hair was just so ridiculously prone to tangling! My old hair dresser from my teen years had told me I had fine hair and that’s why it tangled so much. Even when my hair was just relaxed, I was never one of those girls who could just take a wide-tooth comb and detangling my hair. On beach days, my hair was always knotted and crazy, no matter how hard I tried.  So my situation was just incredibly frustrating. Detangling alone would take me three hours or more with so much breakage. Needless to say, that was not how I wanted to spend my Saturday nights.

2.       I Want Short Hair!

Something about short hair reminds me of a fearless, strong and empowered woman who doesn’t need long hair or much else to feel beautiful. It’s like a small rebellion against the norms of society. A woman with short hair says, “Here I am. I’m not hiding behind anything because I know I’m beautiful and strong. Like it or love it, this is me and proud of it.” Ok, maybe short hair not so much, but short natural hair always brought those sentiments to mind: A woman wild and free from society’s dictates on “good hair” and “bad hair”. I wanted to be that woman so the idea of the big chop enticed me a lot more than long-term transitioning. It meant I wasn’t afraid to see myself in way that most people may not approve of and that I was okay with that (not being so mainstream and my short, kinky, curly, coily hair) and, most importantly, I was okay with me. Not mention, I wanted no regrets. I’ve seen so many beautiful ladies who’d taken the plunge and their journey throughout growing their hair and I also wanted to experience my hair in all its glory – from short to long. I never wanted to look back and say, “I wonder how I’d look with short, natural hair”. The idea was also very exciting to me because I had always been adventurous with my hair growing up. I used to cut Christina Aguilera side (circa 1999/2000) bangs at age 10/11. I cut my hair in a bob and bleached it myself at age 15. Coloured it every summer after that during high school (my school didn’t allow students to wear colour in their hair). With adulthood came complacency and boredom and I figured it was about time I got out of this rut.

This brings me to the day I finally did the big chop. I had in 16 inch-Brazilian body wave human hair extensions (full head). I had gotten the weave for my wedding because after nine months of agonizingly growing out my hair, there was no way I was going back to creamy crack for one day to start all over again (my wedding day was super important but really? Three hours just to detangle?). Besides, there was the honeymoon situation. Beach, sand and water are not friends with the relaxer and, worse, transitioning girl. So I put it up in a weave and thought my troubles would be a thing of the past. I was so wrong. After the salon-did ‘do wore off after the wedding, I still had pieces of my hair at the front, sides and back out and it just wouldn’t behave. It looked quite obvious I had on weave. This was not due to bad hair piece or the stylist. She had in fact done it perfectly to the style I had wanted for my W day. But my hair just seemed to pouf and frizz super easy (little did I know it was seriously heat-damaged due to the hot iron at the salon in effort to blend my natural hair with the weave). Man, and no one told me about the itching. My husband kept telling me I looked like a crack head – itching, patting. I just wanted it out. Plus, it really gave me the extra push when my super supportive hubby said he couldn’t wait to see it on me. I wanted it, he wanted it so why not?

The day we left the hotel, we went straight to hair salon in my hometown. The stylist kept asking me, “Are you sure you want to do this?” “We’ve all gone through that phase where we want natural hair. I did but there’s not much you can do with it.” She was wrong of course; the natural hair community on youtube.com had taught me that. And even thought I was getting jitters, deep down I knew it was what I wanted and I’d be super disappointed with myself if I had chickened out. I had my main support system with me recording and cheering me on so I knew it was going to be fine. I was ready to officially start my natural hair journey!

What’s Next?

Kinky Curly Coily Awesomeness!!!

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