My sister and I were known for our hair. We weren’t like our friends who had the thick bodies that all the guys loved… We had long hair. And I took pride in my hair. I used to say that we were rare because there wasn’t many black girls around us who had real, long hair. Also, we are Haitian American so everyone thought it was just crazy to be Haitian AND have long “good” hair. Our hair was relaxed and I loved my hair. I was a creamy crack addict and no one was going to make me stop putting in a relaxer.
Fast forward to the summer of 2013. I recently colored my hair blonde in May for my birthday. (Worst idea) In July, I got a perm. My hair began to come out in chunks. I cried like someone died. Some pieces were shorter than the other, and from the top of my head, I looked like a rooster. I went to the hair salon and they said that my hair was completely damaged and my hair was just going to continue to fall out. So I got a bob hair cut. It was the shortest my hair had ever been in my life. I tried to do different styles with it, but it got too crazy so I put in Senegalese twists for about two and half months. I then took them out and I still did not know what to do with my hair.
My friend, Arielle, sister’s had come from Atlanta for the holidays. (Christmas and New Year’s) One of the sisters, Corinne, saw that I was struggling with my hair so she suggested that she styled my hair. Boy, was I excited! Since the day my hair fell out, I decided I was going to transition to natural hair. I did not want to deal with a relaxer anymore since I loved putting color in my hair so much. So having short hair AND being natural was a STRUGGLE for me. So my sister and I went to my Arielle’s house and Corinne and Suzy were there, ready to examine and take on my hair. After washing and examining my hair, Corinne, blurts out, “Tracy, your hair is done. Just cut it all off.” I was shocked at the suggestion and I did not want to do it. After a lot of persuading, I said, “Just do it,” and it was as if she was just waiting for me to give the ok, because the minute I did, she snipped off the first piece. Every piece cut literally broke my heart. I was so attached to my hair, even in its short and damaged state.
It was very hard for me to adjust. I would look in the mirror and just be disgusted with myself. I no longer felt beautiful. I’m a single, 25 year old woman that was bald. It hurt me to my core. It took me some time to be ok with myself and eventually I did. I realized that my hair is me, but it is not me. My hair can be important to me, but it does not define me. I thought being without my hair would break me, but I think it made me stronger in a way. I commend any woman who has done the big chop willingly. It takes a very bold and confident woman to cut off her locs of glory.
It has been now six months. I am in the “in between” stages of my hair where I can now rock a fro. And I am VERY proud that I can do so. For those who want to do the big chop, make sure you are emotionally ready. I was not emotionally ready, but I did it because I had to. Also, do not go natural because you see many others doing it. This is something that you will essentially go through alone, therefore, those people that you see doing it will not always be there to give you the support you need. Make sure you are ready for it. Also, if you have a relaxer, that’s fine also. I think it is unfair for some of these naturalistas to look down upon those who want to continue to put in a relaxer. That is their choice. Let them live!