Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Natural Hair Wrap Up: Big Chop-Month 3 (and tips for transitioners)

  Why am I doing this?  Because not everyone has followed my hair journey from start to finish on fotki and not everyone cares to sit for hours looking through my half job of transferring my pictures from my fotki album to Frostoppa.

   Also I am coming up on 5 years natural on September 26, 2011.  I want to have my whole natural hair story on my blog in its entirety by then.  I will try to make this interesting and detailed for you. 

  Hopefully I will succeed in that department.  I will try to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth as always. I will be telling the good, bad and the ugly.  No sugar coating, no holding back on my feelings.  This is raw and honest as all natural hair journeys should be.

For a quick wrap up of years 2009 and 2010, please check the links below:

Quick Wrap Up 2009
Quick Wrap Up 2010

  For my hair story from about 8 years old to the day after I transitioned (pics aren't available but I'm working on it.), check this link:

My Hair Story

Here goes nothing:

  On September 26, 2006, my mother took my hair shears and cut off the last few inches of my relaxed hair after 6 months of transitioning.  It was wet with conditioner and water (the best way to do the big chop so that you can tell the relaxed or heat damaged hair from the natural hair) and it was way thinner than my natural hair. 

  There wasn't much of it left either.  A few weeks leading up to my big chop, I began to slowly cut away my relaxed hair to the point that I could no longer wear a low ponytail. I was basically forcing myself to either bc, or to go back to the relaxer.  I was done with transitioning.

  My initial reaction was mixed.  My mother made negative comments about my hair and that didn't help.  Don't hate my Mother but one of the stand out comments I remember her saying was that I was going to look like a monkey.

  I don't know what possessed her to say that but we know how deep this nappy hair thing runs.  And all of this happened as she was cutting my hair (okay, before anyone starts to hate my mom, let me say now that she loves my natural hair now and she even contemplated going natural herself last month.  That lasted all of about a second). 

  We were sitting in front of a mirror in her room and all I could do was see her shake her head as she snipped away at my relaxed hair.  I tried to explain to her that the relaxed hair was damaged beyond repair from a bad color job from the previous year and it needed to go anyway, but that didn't matter.  It is a sin to cut off "long hair."

  At least a lot of black people will make you feel this way.  Even if the hair is chewed up, you have to hold onto it.  Long black hair is hard to come by like a $2 bill and every single inch of that sucka has to be preserved no matter how damaged it was.

 If you are transitioning, and you are ready to do the big chop, please don't make the mistake I made.  Doing the big chop is suppose to be a joyful experience.  Share it with someone who is as enthused about natural hair as you are. 

  If you have to, do it yourself. It isn't hard, just take a pair of hair scissors (you can buy some at Sally's for under $10) and put conditioner and water on your hair.  Cut all the hair that is still straight once it is wet and leave behind the kinky, curly hair.  You may have to go back and re-cut some relaxed hair that you left behind later.  That is okay.  I did too.   

  After she finished cutting my hair, I got up, went in the bathroom and looked it the mirror.  Who I saw looking back at me was not someone I was familiar with.  I never had short hair ever.  I never had short nappy hair.  One of the first things I honestly thought to myself was, "what have I done?".

  When I was transitioning, my natural hair appeared to be quite long.  Then shrinkage set in.  My 3 inches of stretched natural hair turned into 1.5 inches of shrunken natural hair.  Somebody was playing a cruel practical joke! Where did all that length go to?  And where did those curls go that I felt when I touched my new growth?  All I saw was a fro that looked like Bernie Macs'. 

  But I never uttered a word to my mother of my initial shock. I wasn't going to let her know I wasn't feeling my hair.  I went upstairs and took a few pics of my hair with my camera phone.  What happened to them, I don't know, they never were uploaded to the net. 

The next day, I cowashed my hair and took some pics of my hair outside (my signature style for taking hair pictures).  The pics are terribly small, but back in those days, I had no digital camera, and my camera phone was horrible.

All I remember from September 2006 through December 2006 is me stalking fotki albums.  I was suppose to be doing homework in the computer lab but instead I was busy looking at natural hair, trying to justify why I went natural.

  All I kept telling myself was that in a few months/years, I would have hair like Lovelymissyoli, Natural Starlet, Nappyme, Roshini, AFashionSlave, Erin, Melanizm, Clawz G'Law, LeChat Rouge, and many others.  They were my natural hair inspirations and I wanted my hair to grow up to be just like theirs. 

  I bought a camera at the end of the year on black friday (that I still use today, duct tape and all, ya'll know I'm hood so don't act surprised) and began to share hair pictures with other naturals on fotki.  I loved fotki because it was a very tight picture sharing website that many naturals called home and used to share their natural hair pictures. 

  All you have to do is click on one picture of beautiful hair under a comment, then look at her friends, click on the link and do this over and over again. And before you know it, it is 1 in the morning.  It was the number one place to go to share hair pictures and to connect with other naturals online next to the hair forums.  It was way ahead of its time.  If they made the proper changes, marketed it correctly, made it more user friendly, and oh, got rid of those nasty viruses, it could have been facebook before facebook existed.

Sunday, October 1, 2006 My hair in a sad puff

First Set of Twists: October 20, 2006

Braids in front, puff in the back, secured with ouchless band

Horrible quality pics of my Mini Twists. Dec 2006

Same set of twists as shown above.  Added a cowrie shell and two puffs and a click clack. Don't ask me.

braids that I never finished in the middle

Cowashed Braid Out

Some Mohawk 'Do Before They Were "In Style"

I was trying to copy a hairstyle by Lovelymissyoli. She was one of my biggest style inspirations.

Front of the copied style with a freakishly long eyelash

Twists, took an hour to do

Puff, the main reason I went natural. I wore them to death for a while

Another day, another puff

Puff.  I often hide behind big earrings back then.  I had to wear earrings with my short hair I thought back then.

  A lot of trial and error those first couple of months.  I was beginning to like my hair, but I wasn't in love with my hair just yet.  Every once in a while I would venture over to the local beauty supply store and contemplate the idea of buying a half wig.

  Before I went natural, half wigs were my drug of choice.  But I swore to myself that I would not fall into that same trap again of becoming addicted to weaves.  I needed to learn to love my hair.  And hiding behind a weave to "protect my napps" from the winter air wasn't the way to go either.  I needed to at least go a full year weave free. 

  And that was a hard challenge for myself.  I always took the weave way out of a bad hair day.  I always used a weave because I didn't know how to do my hair.  Those days were over.  I had too many new resources available to me now.  I wouldn't turn back to old habits.

So I continued to challenge myself by trying new hairstyles.  I already knew what I needed to do in order to grow longer hair.  I knew protective styles were the way to go because of Roshini and a few other naturals. 

  After stalking their albums for hours at a time, and seeing their own hair journeys over the years, I saw their hair grow out from fades and twas to long hair.  Ms-gg see, Ms-gg do.  And I did.  Well, I tried. 

  Being a new natural, I was torn between "enjoying" my hair loose, especially my puff, and actively trying to grow my hair out.  It was a hard decision to make, but I tried my best to balance between keeping my hair put away and enjoying wearing it out.

That's all for now folks.  We'll pick up with this story in January 2007 with one of my parents warming up to my natural hair.  Who did it first?


  1. Gor the most part I could have written this post because this is my story! On 12/19/10 after 8 mos transitioning my DH and I cut my hair. I was throughly shocked at how my hair looked. I thought it was going to be much longer and was not prepared for the shrinkage. If you felt like Bernie Mac I felt like Steve Harvey's toupee! Next week will be 7 mos post BC and I like my hair but I can't say I love it at this point. I am encouraged when I see your photos to keep going.

  2. I loved the quick wrap. Please continue to post. You are inspiring.



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