Still not Rapunzel : Three Years Post Big Chop
My natural journey has been filled with highs, lows, and hats…. many, many, hats. I stopped perming nearly 12 years ago, but I’m new to doing my hair in its natural state. Three years post big chop, and I am sad to report that my hair does not sweep the floor the way the countless YouTube videos promised. Coming to grips with my genetics, I am happy to report that I have a new level of swag that has arisen out of the ashes of my pressed hair.
I went to the salon three years ago, prepared for a big chop. I sat nervously in the chair. The stylist fingered through my stringy hair and grabbed the scissors. Even though I gave myself a pep talk every day leading up to the visit, I still shed a few tears in the restroom before searching Pinterest for a hairstyle.
I walked out of the salon nervous, I wasn't confident in my new hairstyle. What had I done? I just started a new job, what would they think? When I picked up my boys from daycare, my oldest immediately complimented my hair. My youngest smiled and ran over. Checkpoint one, cleared. My husband said he liked it but stared at me when he thought I wasn't looking. Checkpoint two, cleared-ish. The next day my husband's friend came for a visit. His face when he saw my Tweeny Weeny Afro (TWA) was a mixture of confusion, dislike, and worry. Checkpoint three, failed.
The first few months were terrible. My hair was so dry and brittle. A piece of hair fell out when I touched it. I tried hair color to make my afro pop, it was horrible. I spent hours watching videos and trying new styles, only for the results to fail. And then one day it just finally clicked.
Cons of being natural
1. There are ugly phases: I wish I could say there was just one phase and maybe I'm alone in the feeling that there are days I wake up to WTF hair. I've learned to rely on bobby pins, hats, or a bold lipstick to detract the attention from my hair.
2. YouTube is filled with "gurus": Can we all agree that type 4 hair is not a catch-all category? If you have 4B/C hair then try to avoid making a 4A naturalista your hair crush. Her curl is not your curl, and no amount of cream can change your curl pattern. If you don’t know what category you fit into, I encourage you to visit a hair stylist.
3. You become a product junkie: I have tried so many products on my hair. I don't even want to think about the amount of money I've wasted on my journey to find what works (Camille Rose Shampoo, Naturally Smitten Curl Delight Mist, and Naturally Smitten Moisturizing Hair Butter are my faves).
Pros of being natural
1. Unlimited styling options: In my years of being relaxed and a serial presser, I never stepped out of the box. My hair was straight. I wore it down. Now, I wear twists, braids, curls, twist outs, updos, and more.
2. Conversation starter: People stop me when I'm out or corner me at work to ask about my hair. I never imagined something I was so unsure about would be admired by others. This proves how we, especially women, are our own worst critics.
3. Healthy hair: On my quarterly visit to the hair salon, my stylist compliments me on my hair growth and the condition of my hair. Many hair issues that I used to deal with in the past are now minimized, including dry scalp and hair shedding.
My hair may never sweep the floor or even reach my shoulders, and I'm okay with that. I regret not embarking on this journey sooner. I can list at least 10 reasons of what prevented me from big chopping and in the very next breath, explain how they shouldn’t have been reasons.
Three years and counting…….