CN: Why the Big Chop?
E: I wrote a book for teens, Sellout, about a girl struggling to find herself in an all-white neighborhood and accepting herself fully and loving the person God made her. During book talks, I began getting questions from readers about my own relaxed hair and how I achieved my look. It made me reevaluate what message I was really sending with my relaxed hair. I wasn’t practicing what I was preaching. So, I started reading this site and stories from other women who, after chopping, loved who God created them to be. I wanted to feel the same.
CN: When you first chopped, what were your thoughts and feelings? How do you feel now?
E: I planned on a long transition. But after two months of cutting my hair shorter and shorter, I quickly got sick of dealing with both textures. So, I started reading the “I Big Chopped” stories on your page, and started ordering products and mentally preparing myself to go all the way. One day I came home from work, turned on “I Am Not My Hair” by India Arie and Akon, and grabbed my scissors. As I was chopping in the sink, I was screaming and kept checking to see how much hair was actually left. As soon as the last snip was done, I cried for three seconds. It was a release cry. Then I started jumping up and down. I loved it immediately and couldn’t believe it. I was seeing the real me after so many years. The ironic thing is I could recognize me right away. I was and still am surprised, but so happy. I really can’t believe I didn’t do this sooner.
CN: How did you cope with the responses from your family and friends?
E: I expected everyone to freak out and be disappointed because I didn’t give much warning. I think my dad and brothers are still adjusting, but they are so supportive. I’ve received nothing but good feedback by women who are inspired by what I’ve done and strangers who compliment my look. I couldn’t be happier. When my mom first saw the pictures, she texted me and said “You go my sista!” She then wrote to me later, saying, “You can always tell when someone gets to the center of self.” It might be the nicest thing she’s ever said to me.
CN: What are your plans for your hair?
E: I really love my TWA right now. I do plan to grow it out eventually, but this is a learn-as-I-go process. I want to enjoy every step, and go with the flow.
CN: Do you find it necessary to ‘doll up’ your look to feel more feminine?
E: I bought ten headbands along with all of the hair care products, but I haven’t worn a single one yet! When I first chopped, my first thought was to make sure I still looked like a women. However, now I don’t even think about it. I haven’t changed my makeup, clothes, or anything else. I wore six earrings in each ear before my big chop, and now they are just more visible.
CN: How do you keep it moisturized?
E: The good advice from the ladies on this site. Thank you! I was prepared with a list of products to try right away. While I was transitioning, I was using the transitioning set from Carol’s Daughter. Now, I use Cantu Shea Butter Cream Shampoo every two weeks and co-wash daily with the Khoret Smoothie and Rosemary Conditioner from Carol’s Daughter. To get my waves going, I use Cantu Shea Butter and Hair Milk daily. At night, I apply Giovanni Leave-In Weightless Moisture Conditioner and wear a silk cap.
I’m so happy to finally be the real me!! For more info about Sellout, check http://www.ebonyjoywilkins.com.