CN: When you first chopped, what were your thoughts and feelings? How do you feel now?
My first chop was in 2006. I was a freshman at Spelman College. I got bored with looking like everyone else, and I had met some women on campus rocking natural styles who inspired me. So I took some school scissors and BC’ed it off myself. I immediately called my mom to tell her. I didn’t expect to burst into tears, but I did. She said, “Kara, are you on drugs?” I knew that she wouldn’t understand right away because she’s always worn her hair relaxed, as did her mom.

In June 2011, I decided to give it another try. So a friend of mine (who had also just BC’ed 2 weeks prior) went to see a female barber in the area. I was prepared this time. I’m watching hair fall to the the floor, and we’re all just having a causal conversation the whole time, like this sort of thing was normal. No biggie, right? It’s just hair. As of today, I’m glad I made the decision, and it’s so exciting to touch my hair in its natural state. I also feel more confident because I have to be able to compensate for the loss of something in which I put so much aesthetic value. Confidence is the ultimate sexy!

CN: How did you cope with the responses from your family and friends?
Before I decided to do the first BC, I told my boyfriend at the time, and he said, “I’m not attracted to women with short hair.” That pissed me off. And the rebelliousness in me wanted to prove to him that he would still be attracted to me because my hair is such a small part of who I am. So after that, I was sure to cut it off. Surprisingly, he admitted later that he thought I looked gorgeous regardless. This time around, I haven’t really gotten any negative comments. In fact, a really good male friend of mine who I confide in, posted this comment on his facebook status: Too many sista’s with hair from overseas. Let your hair speak for itself and stop anti-african, anglosaxin, and relaxin your hair… perms and relaxers ain’t nothing but ritalin. LOL!” Ever since I decided to cut my hair, he’s been very supportive (at one point, I was afraid he wouldn’t be). He even considers himself to be an advocate for the BC, lol. It’s refreshing to have that type of support, especially from a Black man.

CN: What are your plans for your hair?
My plans are to grow my hair out to as long as it wants to grow. No one in my family has really long hair past the shoulders, so I’d like to see if it’s possible with my coarse textured hair. I’ve been toying with the idea of locks, but I’m not sure if I have the level of commitment to do so. For right now, my plan is to just keep it healthy and let it do its thing, low manipulation, and lots of water (like a plant).

CN: Do you find it necessary to ‘doll up’ your look to feel more feminine?
I forced myself to go out the other day with no earrings, and no makeup (the typical TWAer’s “don’t-leave-the-house-without” accessories). It was strange and refreshing at the same time, but I needed to know that I have the confidence to go natural all the way (not just with my hair) and still feel just as beautiful. I’ll be honest, there are times that I look in the mirror, and I don’t feel as feminine as I did with my hair longer, but I get over it quickly. I see this as a rehab stage to gain an even greater sense of pure beauty and femininity … the natural kind.

CN: How do you keep it moisturized?
I definitely shy away from silicons and parabens in my products. And I wet my hair in the shower without shampooing or conditioning it twice a day. I apply an Aloe Vera based leave in daily. I’ve learned, however, that shampooing too often is not good for retaining moisture.

CN: What products and techniques do you use to style? How often do you style?
I really just use my fingers to smooth my hair out and let it do it’s thing. I don’t have much to style with at the moment, and I love it!