I’ve never been scared of short hair. Some say that’s because I have a “nicely shaped head”. Well, I say it’s because I know hair grows. And while it plays a big part, hair isn’t the be all or end all of my beauty. I’ll always vote for healthy hair over long hair. Always. That’s really what made me jump into natural hair to begin with; my scraggly (but long) relaxed hair was, well, scraggly. Even though I announced my decision to big chop again only a little while before I did, I had actually started thinking about it for awhile before. I posted a very detailed post about why I decided to do it. Holding on to my hair didn’t make sense to me. It needed extra care that I wasn’t willing nor able to give it at this point in my life. I feel like I let go of something that I didn’t have the time to respect and give the TLC it needed. I have a lot of things going on and I need my life to grow. As that happens, other things need to adjust as well.
While I’ve had great feedback and support on my big chop, others are still shocked and sad that I went through with it, asking me regularly why I did it. Granted, maybe if you hadn’t seen the blog post or my Instagram and Facebook posts leading up to the chop, you’d have been shocked by the actual big chop reveal photo. Some told me they cried, and made it seem as though that was it for my natural hair journey. It really made me think about why we, especially we as Black women, place such an importance and admiration on long hair. Not that long hair isn’t nice but it’s not for everyone, and not all the time. I’ve received emails and comments that’ve expressed disappointment and I’ve had followers unfollow me, making it sound as though my hair journey has ended. My question is always, I would’ve grown my hair until when? It would have broken, and then what? It would’ve continued shedding, then what? Yes, others in my situation of post-partum shedding make the decision to take care of their hair and nurse it back to health. But I didn’t want to. Who’s to say the shedding would’ve gotten better right away? I know my hair grows. Hair grows, as simple as that. Whether it’s 1 inch a year or 6 inches a year, it’ll grow. If I want it to. And until then, if you want long hair as a change, slap on a wig, braid or a weave. “Your hair was so beautiful!” Isn’t it still now? Can it not be beautiful short? Why have we placed such worth on long hair?
I’ve spoken to many beautiful women with long natural hair who’ve told me they wish they could cut their hair, like I did. I’ve been told that I’m brave for cutting ‘all that hair’. I always ask, why don’t you? What’s holding you back? At the point when I made my decision, my hair was starting to come out in clumps because of post partum shedding. Why hold on to it, why the stress? We give away old clothes, food, a whole bunch of things we don’t need or recognise that others need more than we do. Yet, we’re hanging on to our scraggly hair? It’s one thing when it’s healthy and you like it. Great. But that wasn’t the case with me last year.
After I big chopped, a friend of mine called me in disbelief. Even though I kept telling her for months “I’m going to cut my hair…” she was still shocked and admitted to me she didn’t think I’d go through with it. She’s had dreadlocks for about 10 years and she’s never cut them. She recently joined the gym and has come to the realisation it was difficult for her to maintain her own hair as she was always relying on her stylist to refresh and put it away in a style. She said there was something freeing about the fact that I let go of my hair. It inspired her to really think about hers. She’s kept it long, even though it doesn’t really work for her and because other people tell her not to cut it. We place such value and awe on long hair, it’s like we forget that other kinds of hair are also beautiful. And long hair might not be for everyone and their lifestyle. I mean, how boring would the world be if everyone had long hair? And not to say I won’t be growing my hair out again. Maybe I will, maybe I won’t, who knows? Life is too short. I’m 31 years old, I wanted to cut my hair. So I did.
My conversation with my friend ended with her saying she felt like she’s a hostage to her hair. It described exactly how I was feeling. For what reason? I have something in my life that I deem is worth more of my time and energy than my hair right now. I’m glad I did it. I feel free. I don’t have to sit for two hours shampooing, detangling, deep conditioning my hair on wash day. That’s two extra hours every week that I can now allocate to something else. I don’t have to spend several hours to put my hair into cornrows to wear under my wig. I wake up, I palm roll and I go. Done. And if I want to change it up, I have my wigs that I can just slap on if I feel like something different. I love the versatility it’s given me. I love the time it’s freed up.
I said on @Afromoriri’s IG page (when it was asked why a few local hair bloggers were chopping their hair) that once you reach a goal, you have to set a new one right? You’ve reached it – check. Now challenge yourself to something else. Experience something else. Who’s to say that the natural hair journey has an end goal? Goals change. In the beginning of 2016, I aimed to grow my hair longer and I reached bra strap length at the end of the year. I would’ve had to cut it at some point right? I wasn’t about to try and grow it to waist length! Because with that comes its own challenges, all of which I wasn’t ready to face. So 5 years ago, I had a long(ish) relaxed hair. And I cut it to go natural, to challenge myself, to learn to care for my hair in its natural state. But most of my friends and family whom I told at that time were completely against it. “But your hair is long, why are you going to cut it?” And if I’d listened to those people, I wouldn’t be natural today. I’d be struggling with my relaxed hair and constantly battling within myself and asking why I have kept my relaxed hair as opposed to this beautiful experience that I have gone through, that I’m currently going through.
My point is, just because I cut my hair doesn’t mean you can’t draw inspiration from my journey anymore. My journey has ups and downs. It’s short, it’s long, it’s curly, it’s dry, it’s thick, it’s shedding as I’m sure yours does too. Please don’t think that just because I big chopped it means that I’m going to stop loving my natural hair or that I’m going to stop sharing my journey with you. Because it is a journey. Not an end point. It’s not an end point. So, live. Please just live. Let’s stop being hostages to our hair.
So I hope you’re not feeling let down or disappointed. Just because I don’t have long hair now, this minute, doesn’t mean I didn’t before. It doesn’t mean you can’t find inspiration from my previous blog posts. My content is still here, my video tutorials are still there. I don’t have to currently have long hair for you to possibly be inspired by my story. Let’s enjoy it; short, long, medium, TWA, kinky, curly, bushy. It’s all natural.
And it’s all good.
Do you feel like you’re a hostage to your hair? What’s stopping you from big chopping or changing it up?