Sept 2013, was the last time I put a relaxer in my hair.
As I sat on the floor in my bedroom that day, I thought I felt a small part of me die as I made the decision to stop using relaxers in my hair. For a brief moment I was depressed. Ever since I was twelve years old, relaxers were all I knew. But after a flash back of how my scalp would burn from the chemicals, I quickly got over it. My decision to never relax my hair again, unlike many others was not for religion, empowerment or for some great cause. It was simply something I’d always wanted to do, so I did it. Another check on my bucket list.
My thirty-six birthday was vastly approaching and I knew it was then that I wanted to do the Big Chop. As I transitioned my hair before I went before the scissors, I wore different styles that involved weave. I’ve never been too shy to throw on a fancy wig, have my hair braided or have a quick weave sown into my existing hair. I’m sexy and I know it!
Finally the day arrived and I had my friend cut my hair. To say the least, she didn’t want to do it. But, because she had been natural for about two years prior, she understood my brave step. As she cut pieces around my head, she gathered my hair and placed it into a bag so I could forever have this memory. The more she cut, the happier I became. I actually felt freer! Then it was time to look in the mirror. I looked different, but I totally loved the new me.
Driving home I could feel the air blowing through my new do. I felt alive. I was happy. But to be honest, I did think about what others, my friends and my co-workers would think about my hair. Getting ready for work that Monday morning was a little stressful to say the least. But I pulled myself together and remembered the lyrics to India Arie’s song, “I am not my hair.” I soon felt empowered, beautiful and ready for the reactions of my employers and co-workers.
“I am not my hair
I am not this skin
I am not your expectations no no
I am not my hair
I am not this skin
I am a soul that lives within.”
Not that people’s opinions really meant that much to me, I had been delivered from that years ago. I was who I was and my hair didn’t define me as a person. I refused to look like everyone else or be what others thought I should be or look how they thought I should look. I loved me and I radiated confidence because greater is he that is in me than he that is in the world.
People had their opinions. Some were shocked, others loved my new do, while others who didn’t like it kept their opinions to themselves. (I applaud their wise decision in not voicing their opinions.) Regardless, I loved how my natural hair felt, how it curled and how easy it was to maintain.
Now months have passed and I’ve tried different hair styles. Just because you’re natural doesn’t mean you have to always look the same. But, I must admit my favorite look is a two strand twist out. It’s easy to do and so fits my personality. Here’s a picture of me nine months post my Big Chop.
To say the least, this has been one on the best Bucket List decisions I have ever made. I am always learning something new regarding how to take care of my natural hair. There are so many products out there, I’m still learning what works best for me and my hair texture. My goal is to grow my hair to my shoulders. After that, who knows. I’m just having fun being me…