It was the day after my Husband’s birthday and I just wanted it gone. I warned him for the past few weeks that I had a feeling it was time to let it all go, to chop off what was left of the old me. He replied each time with ‘I don’t know why you’re warning me, you’re just going to do what you want anyway.” He’s right. I do this every time. The last time I cut it, I told him I was going to get it colored and trimmed. I came home with it chopped to my ears and honey blonde.
I’m a creature of change, but I’m also a woman who knows that life needs to be streamlined. Things need to be simple and natural, if only for the sake of your sanity. I needed to let go of what weighs me down, and the “unnatural” parts of my hair felt as if it belonged to the old me. The naive me. So on November 20th 2012, I let her go.
The internets call my experience a “Big Chop”: women cut off the hair that had been chemically treated from the naturally curly, or kinky, hair that grows from the roots. It’s a right of passage for “natural” women if they choose to do so, and I’ve yet to find someone that hasn’t felt uplifted from following through with it. I arrived at the beauty salon and the tingle of butterflies filled my stomach. It wasn’t a nervousness, but an excitement. The emotion was similar to my wedding day: I was embarking on a new journey and the anticipation of the end result was so great that I wanted to weep.
As the hair fell, so did the anticipation. The true me emerged. My shoulders went back. My eyes widened to take in a world that wasn’t hidden behind long hair. As my stylist shaped up the little bit of hair I had left, I caught a teenage girl with long black relaxed locks staring. She was in shock of what I’d just done, what I selectively let go. As she started to twirl her hair around her finger, I could see she was intrigued. She was imagining herself in that chair. In that moment, she noticed me staring back. I smiled a wide smile as she looked down at her shoes. She leaned her head towards her mother and unsuccessfully whispered “Mom, I want to cut my hair.”
“You are NOT cutting your hair Felicia! Your hair is fine and long. It would be stupid to cut it all off.”
Once she realized the amount of her foot that was placed in her mouth, she looked up at me and smiled awkwardly. I could hear the fear in her voice and I could see the brightness in her daughter’s eyes. They’d be having this talk again, and soon.
Once my cut was finished, I paid my stylist and grabbed my jacket to go.
As I walked off, Felicia yelled out “I really love your hair!”
After her mother shot her an evil glance, she turned to me and gritted through her teeth “Yes, it’s lovely and you are so brave. You have the perfect face for that cut. Not everyone could pull it off.”
That’s where she was wrong. Everyone can pull it off. It’s about the energy and the confidence, not the shape of a head or face. It’s about wanting to be released from it all and grow outside and in. It’s about freedom. It’s about being true to you. So, that’s why I chopped off my hair.
This week i’m hooking up with ShellThings to Pour My Heart Out.