Six weeks after the big chop…

I can honestly say I’m glad I made the decision to go natural. I agonized months on how I would look after I did the big chop and, of course, I didn’t turn into some ugly beast with a short afro. I was the same ol’ beautiful black woman, only with natural hair.

Taking care of my hair hasn’t been as much of a challenge as I thought it would be. My ig’nant brainwashed relaxed mindset somehow believed natural hair was always tangled and hard to comb and manage. My aunt, who happily laced up my locks with the creamy crack, constantly referred to natural hair as “nappy.” I subconsciously absorbed that line of thinking and never realized until recently how little I knew about natural hair. Now that I’ve reunited with my natural hair after 20 years in exile, here are some interesting tidbits I’ve learned:

  • it’s best to comb my hair while wet/damp. While I could comb while it’s dry, it seems to cause more undue stress on my hair.
  • It’s best to detangle my hair while in the shower. The products I use (Shea Moisture, TRESsemme Naturals for co-washing) aids in detangling.
  • It doesn’t take much for my hair to retain moisture, which helps me maintain a style throughout the day.
  • Oiling my scalp will leave my pillow cases looking like I have a Jheri Curl. Luckily, my boyfriend hasn’t really noticed.
  • I look a lot more like my mother. I already had her forehead, but with my short hair, I’m pretty much like a younger version of her.
  • Contrary to what I’ve read, I have to wash my hair at least once a week due to my seborrheic dermatitis.  The woman who cut my hair told me I should wash my hair only once a month and only do co-washes in between. My scalp can’t go neglected for that long. I use Shea Moisture’s Moisture Retention shampoo, which is awesome with infusing my hair with the moisture I need.
  • Heat damage is a bitch as I now have a patch on the front right side of my head that looks like it’s been pressed, which makes it tricky when I want to wear an afro.
  • I have at least three different textures in my hair. The back part of my hair is very dense and kinky. The front, sides and the part near the nape of my neck is softer. Relaxing my hair for 20 years left me completely in the dark about how diverse my hair texture is!
  • I have not and don’t plan to find out my hair type. I find the whole idea of hair type to be stupid. It’s just another way to categorize black hair, which pigeon holds us to believing certain products and styling mechanisms will work for our hair. Just because one head is 4a and works one way doesn’t mean another 4a head will do the exact same thing. Each strand and head of hair is different.
I’m still a little self-conscious with rocking my natural hair since I am still getting used to not having long, relaxed hair. There are the awkward stares I have to deal with, people wanting to put their damn hands in my head, etc. Another interesting piece of information is I’ve noticed black men in my area aren’t particularly warm to a black woman with a short afro. My shoulder-length relaxed hair would get all kinds of double-takes and looks from black men, but now, those double-takes are few and far between. Not that I’m hung up on it since I am dating someone. However, since I’m highly aware of my surroundings, it’s something I’ve picked up on. I’ve read blog entries and comments on stories from numerous black women who’ve decried the same thing. While I refuse to generalize, I have noticed this lack of attraction in my area.
Most comments I’ve read from women who’ve gone natural said they’ve gained a sense of self-worth and felt prideful in who they are once they ditched the creamy crack. I never thought I’d feel emboldened by my decision. I initially tried to downplay the effects the big chop will have on my personality. There’s no doubt that I am proud to embrace and share with the world my natural hair. There’s no doubt that transitioning from relaxed to natural was one of the best, most rewarding decisions I’ve made.