CN: When you first chopped, what were your thoughts and feelings? How do you feel now?
K: I transitioned for about 6 months and chopped around December 23rd, 2010, a few days before Christmas. I guess natural hair and freedom from weaves and pricey bi-weekly salon visits was my gift to me. It was the best gift I’d ever received. I was totally anxious before chopping. I had deemed myself a long-term transitioner. After discovering sites like CurlyNikki.com and Kisforkinky.com, I had to chop! I’m typically impatient. However, after seeing all of these lovely naturals embracing who they were, short hair included, I figured, “What am I so scared of?” My hair was cut short before my transitioning started. So, I knew I could pull off the short look. People usually love my style even if they don’t understand it, but I was so terribly concerned about looking “too this” or “too that” that I hid my budding new growth under braids and weaves. I say “hid” because I loved the direction I was going with my hair but felt a hint of shame for taking a different path than the norm. I felt conflicted. I was telling myself to accept myself but was too afraid to show who I really was without the relaxers or weaves. Weaves can be addictive. I soon realized that I was relying too heavily on hair, relaxed or natural, real or faux, and I didn’t like it. If I was going to be real about this, then I had to do it. I didn’t want to fall off the bandwagon because I was discouraged. Before I could talk myself out of it, I grabbed a pair of scissors, a video camera for documentation and then started chopping. It was the best thing I ever did for myself because it was truly for me and no one else.
CN: How did you cope with the responses from your family and friends?
K: Well, I was a little apprehensive about telling my parents because my dad doesn’t like short hair, and I knew my mom would think I was a bit crazy. My mom was pretty understanding, or at least, she pretended like she understood which helped. She even helped me chop! As for friends and coworkers, some were really supportive! They advised me on products, some do’s and don’ts, and encouraged me to go for it. They still check in with me, ask if I like my hair and how it’s doing. I only had one blatantly rude comment from a co-worker who said, “I went from looking like Chaka Kahn to Whoopi Goldberg.” I didn’t see the correlation between a Whoopi with locs and a TWA. I thought, “Who were they to imply anything negative about Ms. Goldberg?” I immediately let them know that their comment was rude, un-called for and would not be tolerated! They quickly apologized several times, and now they watch what they say. I may be nice, but I don’t tolerate foolishness.
CN: What are your plans for your hair?
K: I am growing it out. I love how the Caesar cut looks because it’s so early ‘90s. I want to try it, but I’m growing it out because I want to see how it handles.
CN: Do you find it necessary to ‘doll up’ your look to feel more feminine?
K: Yeah, I do. I was never a fan of big or dangling earrings because my hair was longer and was the best accessory. Now, I’m a sucker for them. My makeup is the same as before I cut my hair, except that I use bolder colors now. I feel I can do this now because my face takes center stage instead of my hair so the bolder colors don’t clash. Also, the place I work uses a basic fit uniform shirt. So, if I’m not careful and don’t wear something such as earrings or makeup, I could look a little masculine. I have to have my eyebrows done and wear some kind of eyeliner too.
CN: How do you keep it moisturized?
K: I keep my curls moisturized by using water, oils and a deep conditioning treatment whenever I wash.
CN: What products and techniques do you use to style? How often do you style?
K: I’m such a product junkie, but I’m trying to watch myself. Right now, I mainly use coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, Shea Moisture Deep Conditioning Mask, a rosemary oil and essential oils concoction and water. If I’m doing twist-outs, then I wear it for 2-4 days fluffing in between styling sessions. If it’s a fro, then I just pat with my hands to shape daily.
CN: How do you get your waves or curls popping?
K: It’s still short but too long for me to finger style with my Eco Styling Gel like I did previously. So I do twist-outs with a little Eco gel and coconut oil or wear a fro if I’m feeling lazy or in a rush. I have just enough now to do some small twist-outs.
CN: How do you preserve your curls at night?
K: Since it’s still short I don’t do much but put on my satin bonnet.
CN: What would you tell a new TWA girl or lady considering Big Chopping?
K: It’s been one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself because now I take better care of myself as a whole. I eat better, drink more water, exercise and filter what I take in mentally and spiritually. I’m much more committed to the things I ‘m interested in, and it all started with a chop! I say go for it, and don’t quit!
Check my progress as I learn, share and hopefully inspire someone on my Youtube channel!