By Cassidy of The Natural Selection
Like many women who decide to go natural, I was terrified of doing my big chop. For years, I had rocked my long straight hair with Aaliyah-swoop bangs and had become very attached to the feeling of my ponytail swooshing against my back. Not only had my long hair become a keystone to my identity, but also a symbol my femininity.
The Big Chop, I knew, would threaten both of those things. So I did what any normal gal would do: I avoided it! I transitioned in braids for over a year so that when I finally DID do the chop, I emerged with about 6” of hair on my head. From that point on, I was focused on growing my hair long, on achieving a glorious halo of BIG HAIR DON’T CARE.
Fast-forward two years: my coils when stretched reached far past my shoulders and I was well on my way to the fro of my dreams! However, after an incident at a Dominican Salon, I had to cut 10” off the back of my hair. It was a very sad moment, but it was this experience that opened my eyes to the extreme value I have always placed on the length of my hair.
After receiving a jazzy little haircut from my stylist, Marie of Madusalon in San Francisco, I found myself having a lot more FUN with my hair instead of harboring this preoccupation of growing it. Inspired, I decided to run a series on my blog called “Chop Chop!” that shared the stories of naturalistas who had gone for a 2nd chop. I admired these women, who included Celebrity Stylist Felicia Leatherwood, Koils By Nature Owner Pamela Jenkins and model Tomiko Fraser Hines, for going through the whole ordeal again and envied their smooth, closely cropped hairstyles.
As I adventured through a variety of hairstyles including one that incorporated half of my head shaved into a quarter inch fade, I always thought about how I wanted to really go for the 2nd chop myself. I was torn because at events and on my blog people were always complimenting me on my great curls while I secretly wanted to just shave them off! I realized that in a way, people had more of an attachment to my hair than I did myself.
I was scared to do a 2nd chop. I mean, I’m a natural hair blogger: it’s my job to have hair, right?! But I couldn’t get clippers off my mind. A few weeks ago, I finally worked up the courage and sat in my stylist’s chair while watching my curls fall to the floor. As I watched the clippers glide all around my head, I watched as a new face emerged, one that wasn’t hidden beneath products, styles, extensions or long curls hanging beneath my shoulders. The face I saw was mine like I had never seen it before.
The process of going through a 2nd chop has provided me with an opportunity to realign my appearance with my TRUE identity, one where long hair doesn’t equate femininity, I don’t have to hide behind the distraction of my cascade of coily coils, and hair isn’t the be all-end all of life, even as a hair blogger.
Cassidy is creator and author of The Natural Selection.