The Big Chop – Will it make or break me?

When I was a child, I always thought my hair was a redeeming quality of mines. A little black girl that went to a public school where all the other little black girls wore weave seemingly 365 days of the year, I took pride in being one of the few that was proud to wear her actual hair out. My mother permed my hair at the age of 12 or 13 and from that moment on I loved to turn run my hands through my straight, long locks. I felt as if my hair defined me, made me better somehow despite my short stature and mediocre face.

That is, until I reached the age of 23. Years of perming my hair had made it thin and my scalp was always so dry that I had a huge issue with dandruff. With the sudden Natural Hair movement, I was inspired to get rid of my perm and finally have healthy hair that I could truly be proud of. By then, I was confident in who I was- shortness and all. I even now knew that my face was pretty- I had grown into my big teeth and found my face to be quite appealing.

I tried for five or six months to transition my hair from permed to natural. I did twists-outs and braid-outs, but the management for these styles with most of my hair still permed proved to be a hassle.

Day after day, the “big chop” entered my mind. The thought was tantalizing but scary. Ladies, whether you’re black, white, yellow or brown…you’ve got to know what I mean if you’ve never had short hair before. I wondered what I would look like. Would I look like a little boy? Would my boyfriend still find me attractive? Would I still find myself attractive?

Not to mention that, being an African American, other fears popped into my brain. Wouldn’t I be seen as just another Black girl who can’t grow her hair long? Would my hairstyles be work-appropriate? Was I willing to do the maintenance and keep up with the products that would maintain my healthy hair and grow my hair back long?

On my 23rd birthday I came up with the answer to all of those questions: WHO CARES?!

I went to my beautician and told her to cut all of my perm out, leaving me with a meager couple of inches that I didn’t even bother to measure.

I admit that the first couple of days I berated myself for cutting my precious hair. I admit that I even cried. But you know what, once I sucked it up and really looked at myself I realized that I was still the same person…just with different hair.

Over the last three months I’ve had time to get to know my hair. My natural hair. Thicker than my permed hair, curlier than my permed hair, just as beautiful as my permed hair. My hair has already grown a couple of inches and I’m even able to do a twist-out again!

The point I’m trying to make is that your hair does not define you, ladies. It’s hair. It grows back. No matter what race you are, if you want to cut your hair then do it and rock it! If you find that you don’t like it pin it up, wear headbands, look up styles that other women with short hair has and try them out. Your hair won’t be short forever so have fun while it’s still short because once it grows out again you might find yourself wishing for the easier maintenance.

Love the process, love your hair, love yourself!

Jocelyn H.

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