Most Black women have a big chop moment.
For the uninitiated, the big chop is when a woman cuts all her hair, usually when transitioning from chemical to natural hair. When I went natural 12 years ago, I read an article in Essence magazine and went through the steps the magazine suggested with the exception of trimming my relaxed hair. The decision to go natural was more frustration with my cousin and the way hair salons seemed to overcharge me than some statement of revolution.
Fast forward to this year. It’s been hot in Upper Darby and my new habit of an hour long walk in the park is wreaking havoc on my hair. I’m struggling with The Teen leaving (23 days and counting) and turning forty. Something drastic was bound to happen. I always fancied myself purchasing a motorcycle and speeding around on that, but both kids schools want payment and my good looks aren’t acceptable currency.
Scissors in hand, I considered what parts of my hair to cut: would I do an 80s throwback and choose and asymmetrical design? Would I use The Mister’s clippers and shave the sides and back? Or would I suck it up and cut until I got tired?
The Teen offered to help and we got busy.
As she cut, she would hand me chunks of hair and I would consider them and tell her to go on.
When she was done, I got scared. I’m used to slapping my hair in a sloppy ponytail and keeping it moving. Now, I’ll have to take a few more minutes to prepare my hair. I can still use the same technique I use when washing my hair, the Bantu knots I’m fond of, but getting the back has always been a problem.
The Mister is not a fan, running his hand through my hair and asking “WHY?!”
I getting used to it. There are more resources available than the Essence article I read all those years ago. I may finally be able to color my hair with one box of hair color. And the hot flashes are a little more bearable. My neck does feel lighter and I feel like this is just the beginning of a new time in my life.
And, as I’ve been told numerous times, hair does grow back.