October 22, 2015
Why I Big Chopped
It started with an image. One picture of Vivian Green in all her short, cropped, curly hair glory. I stared at the image wishing that I could be as beautiful as her. I wanted to feel effervescent while being bare. What if I could look like that? What if I could feel that way?
I shut down the ludicrous thought as quickly as it came. My face isn’t pretty enough to go natural. I need my flips. My hair slayed! I wouldn’t be as fly without it. I exited out the image only to reopen it five minutes later. I exited out and re-opened the image a few good times before I ran to the bathroom. I pushed my hair all the way back trying to imagine myself without my bedhead hair. It wasn’t like I was afraid of short hair, heck, I already had short hair. I had cut my longer permed hair a few years back and loved my shorter edgy cut ever since. But this…this was different. I was known for my hair. Everyone loved it and I always got tons of compliments. I had even dyed it the colors of the rainbow, an outward expression of my inward creativity. My hair made me feel as bad and sexy as Rihanna. Who was I going to be without it?
The fact that I didn’t know who I was going to be without my hair was the reason why I went natural. It bothered me that I didn’t feel beautiful if my hair wasn’t on point. I was ashamed that I hid behind something so vain. Hair alone shouldn’t be the reason why I did or did not feel confident. Why was I putting what other people thought of me ahead of how I wanted to feel? The truth was, I wanted to love myself flaws and all. I wanted to feel pretty, even if I wasn’t society’s standard of what pretty was.
I was blessed that my stylist was a beast with the clippers; she gave me a big chop that still reflected my individuality. With mixed emotions, I left her chair – shocked that I actually did it and excited because I looked pretty darn good. I immediately took the picture above and posted it on Facebook. I didn’t care what anyone thought or what they would say. I was proud of myself, it took a lot of bravery and fearlessness to do the big chop. Plus, I really liked my new curls. All my life I wanted my hair to curl like Joan’s from the TV show Girlfriends (I think every natural wants to be Tracee Ellis Ross) and it did! I loved my little curls.
I would be lying to you if I said that it wasn’t an adjustment and that I felt confident ALL of the time. Like most naturals at this stage, I felt like I looked like a boy sometimes. The fear that guys aren’t attracted to you anymore is enough to make you run back to the hair salon and beg your stylist to perm your hair again. One day I thought a cute guy was eyeing me in the elevator; turns out, he just wanted to know who cut my hair. To my despair this happened countless other times.
Not to mention how stressful it was navigating through the world of natural hair. It was a bear finding products that gave me that wet and wavy look all day without being drying. Then once I found a product that would work wonders for my hair, I had to catch my breath when I looked at the price! It was hard for me to wrap my head (and my wallet) around my new $15 curling crème when my old school Luster’s Pink Lotion was only $3. The natural hair websites were helpful but utterly confusing. What’s co-washing? What’s a TWA? What’s BSL hair? Why the heck are there so many acronyms on this website? YouTube tutorials inspired me and disappointed me at the same time. I was constantly excited to try a new technique I learned from a video, then heartbroken at the epic fails I encountered when I did it myself. This must have been the emotional roller coaster Vivian was referring to.
There were so many times that I wanted to quit, but I’m glad that I didn’t. I challenged myself to tap into that which I hid behind, in order to access that which I truly desired….true confidence. Whether your goal is to have a Vivian Green TWA (Teeney Weeney Afro) or a full out Solange fro, stick with it. The natural hair journey isn’t all about the reward, but the journey itself. You find out your insecurities but you also find out your strengths. Your beauty doesn’t lie in the length of your hair or the curl pattern, but in how you view yourself.
Gabrielle a.k.a Hello Curly
Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxXm0pCpaFhkENXcKmPZleA