Return Of The Afro

Nadine-Celebrateher_with text

After twenty-three years of chemical straightening I’ve returned to my natural hair texture. Huzzah!

If you have the time and the patience, bear with me. Those of you who have read my previous post on the subject, know that I’ve got some major feelings tied up in this hair bid’ness. My shrink already has her hands full with all my other neuroses, this long, rambling blog post serves as stand-in therapy on this issue.

After years of ambivalence, I was motivated to make the change once and for all, when my partner and I started planning our move to California. One of the first things we had to figure out was we how would afford life in a pricey state on a single income while carrying the cost of my return to school.  We had some serious trimming to do budget-wise,  so we made a spreadsheet of all our current expenses. When we added up the cost of all of my salon appointments, including taxes and tips, I was spending close to $1500 per year to relax my hair!

Daaaaag!

Fifteen hundred dollars could cover our moving expenses or the cost of my school books. Fifteen hundred dollars would pay for a year’s worth of long distance phone calls to family and friends. For fifteen hundred dollars, I could attend three national conferences or buy the family a new computer. I could take my son to a major league baseball game every weekend, or enroll him in an amazing summer camp or take a trip to Yosemite or Tahoe or some other magnificent destination. There were so many other uses for the money I was spending on relaxers.

It wasn’t worth it.

I’m happy to invest money in my personal care and grooming, but having straight hair hadn’t felt like an investment for quite sometime. It didn’t make me feel good, figuratively or literally. The terrible sting of chemicals on my scalp left me feeling ashamed and resentful. I was straightening my hair, not because I because it made me feel beautiful but because it made me feel safe, inconspicuous. Relaxers made my head uncontroversial. Appeasing others at my own expense is not the person I want to be. But the memory of hurtful things people used to say about my natural hair still loomed large. I was scared.

I realized that this was probably one of those situations where I’d have to face my fears in order to get past them. It was time to invest my money and my energy into better things. I cancelled my next standing appointment at the salon. I was going natural! I felt strong and empowered…for almost ten whole minutes.

Then I panicked.

It had been so long. I didn’t really remember my natural texture. I didn’t know what to do.  Did I just let it grow? Did I need a weave or wigs? Special products? New shampoo? What?

I took a deep breath and reminded myself that my head wasn’t going to break out in nappy curls right away. With the exception of some faint kinking at the roots, my hair was still straight. I literally had to grow into this change, which meant I had time to figure stuff out.

I went to the Internet and Googled something like “RELAXED TO NATURAL OMGHAIRFLAIL!”  Bam!  A myriad of websites, blogs and vlogs about the wonderful world of natural black-people hair.

I knew of women who went natural by doing what’s know as The Big Chop, which essentially means cutting off all your relaxed hair at once and re-growing it from scratch. That scared the crap out of me. My hair wasn’t spectacular…but I needed it. Otherwise, I’d just be a head and face which…ACK! And…I couldn’t! And…NO!

A second Google search revealed that going natural without a big chop is totally a thing. I could let the natural texture grow in while doing “mini-chops” every few weeks to gradually remove my relaxed hair. It would take a long time – a year, maybe two – to rid myself of all the processed hair. It would also be far more challenging to maintain the health of two radically different hair textures. But the alternative was super-short and that was NOT EVER HAPPENING. So I got myself a pair of trimming scissors and settled in for the long transition.

It took about ten weeks before I really started to notice a substantial change in my hair. My new growth was dense, extremely curly and kind of coarse. Managing my naps while the rest of my hair was straight was tough. My hair started snapping off at the place where the two textures met (typical during transition). I started styling my hair in flat twists and up dos. The styles keep my fragile hair reasonably protected and helped conceal some of the transitional awkwardness.

Something I heard time and again from women in the natural hair community was that changing my hair would be an emotional journey and that I might be surprised by what came out of the experience. That was totally true. I would vacillate from one emotional state to another: Fear, excitement, fear, joy, fear, fear, pride, fear, absolute terror, fear, wonderment, fear.

One day, I was in the shower, washing my emerging coils and I thought “I like these.” It was nice and very new not to feel at odds with the kink. Suddenly I was overcome by curiosity. I really wanted to see what that hair would looked like all on it’s own. I got out of the shower, found my scissors and cut the relaxer off a discreet patch of hair near the nape of my neck. Once they were free, my natural strands popped back toward my scalp like a tightly wound spring. “Wow,” I thought, “that’s my hair.”

I wanted that hair and only that hair. But I was still terrified of The Big Chop. It was too drastic. Yes, it would grow out eventually but it would take months, years even to regain any significant length. What if I looked awful in the meantime?

Yet every time I put my hands in my hair my curiosity grew. What was going on up there? The darn relaxer was in my way, distorting my texture and altering my curl pattern. I began trimming more aggressively. I cut off more near my neck. I went back to YouTube and watched videos of other women who had big chopped. Many had been afraid going into it, but they all seemed so happy once it was done. I began to think maybe, just maybe I could do it too.

First I’d have to find someone to do the chopping. It was one thing to self-cut small sections of my hair but no way could I shear my entire head without making a hash of it. I didn’t want to see my old stylists for fear they would try to talk me out of my natural plans. After careful consideration, I asked my mom if she would do it during my next visit to her place. She instantly agreed to help, because my mom is lovely that way.

Even after I made the decision, I had a great deal of anxiety about having super-short hair. (This is where I get a little heavy. I appreciate that you’ve stayed with me this long. Hang in a little longer, ‘kay?)

I was worried about what others would think. But when I told people my plans, I received an outpouring of enthusiastic support. My partner was uber-excited for me. My friends sent me pictures of women rocking short, stylish afros. I certainly didn’t have to worry about being shunned by my loved ones.

I was still very concerned about the fact I didn’t know what I’d look like. A super-short style would change the dynamics of my face – even my body – and who knew what the results would be? I might be less attractive. And then it struck me, in a super-clear moment of disempowering shame that thought of being unattractive scares the crap out of me.

I legit love clothes and make-up and all look-y look, dress-up stuff. I adored styling my dolls as a little girl and now that I’m grown, I’m like my own doll, except way better because I’m not plastic. I’m a real person with thoughts, a heart, a soul, and a life. Score!

But even though I enjoy clothing and grooming myself (in ways that are very much line with conventional notions of femininity) I also feel I’m expected  to at least strive toward - if not to attain – certain beauty standards. I should want to be pretty and if I can’t be, I should feel badly about it. There are times when I really do feel that my right to be seen, to be heard, and to take up space in a room proportional to my perceived level of attractiveness.

I suspect I’m not the only person who feels this way. I constantly hear women apologize and castigate themselves because they’re the “wrong” size/shape, they lack the expected adornments, or have committed some other perceived offense, which basically amounts to “I Had The Audacity To Be Out In The World Looking Like What I Actually Look Like.” I want to tell them to stop saying those things. Sometimes I do tell them. Which might be helpful but I realize it’s also a bit hypocritical because the truth is I struggle with those feelings and I know I’ve buckled under the weight of those expectations more than once.

I do feel, at times, that beauty is my obligation and making myself attractive is a major clause in my contract with the rest of society. I feel like I’m always expected to care about how I look, that being pretty is something I’m supposed to want.

Except it isn’t true. It’s pervasive and I feel it, but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s a big pile of toxic nonsense crapping all over my self worth. And yes it gives me feelings; feelings that are very strong and very real. But the truth is, I can choose to take beauty off my list of priorities and that is totally okay.

So I sat down to have a serious talk with myself. I said to myself, Self…

That is some toxic nonesense. Don’t make choices based on toxic nonesense. You know you have value, no matter what you look like. This is your body and your hair and you’re allowed to do whatever you want to do with it. If you don’t love the way short hair looks on you, that’s okay. You can still love who you are. So get over yourself, Nadine. It’s just hair.

My real self-talk was less eloquent and Hallmark-ish, but the gist was there. I felt more courageous about The Big Chop. And even though I’m kind of embarrassed that I needed courage to get a haircut, that’s honestly what it took. Don’t judge me too harshly, OK?

It took two decades of hair trauma and six months of transition but I’m finally learning embrace my hair, as is. I’m becoming reacquainted with my kinky, nappy head and you know what? I really am happy I did this! I’m newly minted naturalista and I’m happy to report that so far life post-relaxer is great and not so scary.

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Not so scary at all.

——————————————–

Already Pretty contributor Nadine Thornhill is a sex educator and blogger at Adorkable Undies. She is a new resident of the San Francisco Bay Area, having recently moved from Ottawa, Ontario to pursue a PhD in human sexuality. Her writing tends toward subjects such as clitorises, feminism, vibrators, body image, gender politics and non-monogamy. She is a passionately committed Scrabble player and lifelong klutz, having sustained 16 concussions to date.

  • Angela

    Beautiful! As a caucasian in my 40′s, I spend 1500 a year to keep it blonde….how stupid is that???

    Your hair is lovely

  • http://www.modalcorpus.blogspot.com Natalie

    I love your short do!
    I understand a little of that fear. I have been dyeing my naturally mid ash blonde hair a variety of shades since I was 14 and it has been black or a dark shade for nearly adecade. Now 30, I decided this April that I wanted to see what my natural hair looked like. So I could grow it out, strip the colour or chop it all off. Stripping black with an underlay of pink didn’t work so going short was the only option. Like the shortest my hair has ever been.
    Having had long hair for a while it was pretty terrifying but I was so relieved when I did it. Or when my bf did it!
    And I love it. I think many women look much more striking with short hair, it brings greater emphasis to the facial features that otherwise have to compete with hair. You are no exception to that! Enjoy short hair and the ease of life it creates!

  • Anonymous

    I gotta say, even as a straight-haired Caucasian, I always thought hair like yours was FRIGGIN’ AWESOME.

    • Jessica

      Agreed!!!

  • Lynn

    Wow! Your short, natural hair really highlights your lovely face. You look adorable!

  • omgphd

    Nadine,
    Thanks for sharing your story! I love your posts! I have spent most of my adulthood transitioning between long and short hair so I could donate it, but was suddenly so afraid of cutting it when I wasn’t doing it for charity because now I’d just be doing something that wasn’t ‘pretty.’ I had a similar conversation with myself and took the leap. Making that one change has helped usher in a new sense of body pride and style adventurousness because I realized that I can experiment with my presentation just because *I* want to. Cheers to you and your journey!

  • Monica H

    Nadine, thanks for sharing your story. You look beautiful in the last pic, not because of your hair (although I think it’s cool too), but because this is a picture of a woman showing herself to the world. We’re told that not only are we supposed to be attractive, we’re supposed to fit everyone else’s idea of attractive. The irony is that our real beauty can only be seen when we face the world as our true selves, without our masks.

    A few years ago a girl in my office came in sporting a wild purple streak in her hair. I work in an office of engineers, and this kind of rebellion was almost unheard of, especially among the few women engineers. When asked why she did such a thing, she laughed it off and said, “It’s just hair.” When she said this my whole view on my own hair changed. Suddenly it was not a part of ‘me’ anymore, central to my identity, now it was more like an accessory to be played with and styled as I like, as if it were a fun hat or something. Since then I’ve had much more freedom in playing with my hairstyle and knowing if I don’t like it, I can just change it again. It was interesting to me that you used the same phrase.

    I know that African American women have an even more challenging relationship with their hair given the shape and texture don’t conform to social beauty ideals. But I must say as a white woman I often envy African hair. I would totally love to rock the style you have today, it seems so fresh and fun and alive. And so natural and uncontrived. But alas, that style is beyond my hair’s capabilities.

    Thanks so much for being brave enough to be yourself and to share it with the world. Rock that ‘do!

  • Anat

    Oh I was waiting to hear about this! You look so very lovely. Congratulations and enjoy.

  • Jessica

    Beautiful! Way to go, Nadine! Your courage is inspiring <3

  • Stacie

    I love your story, and that cute new doo! In the last few months, ditched 20 years of coloring my grays, and at 44 I’m sporting a premature yet striking new, natural doo. It was really tough to come to the decision, and I did the Big Chop, because growing out the roots was waaaaaay too conspicuous.
    I was totally worried about the cultural implications of having gray hair. But I ultimately decided I didn’t really care.
    And now, I have a pixie with a lot of white highlights. And I get a load of compliments. I plan to spend all the money I’m saving on shoes! Congrats on the new, natural you!

  • anotherjen

    I love it for aesthetic and political reasons – yay you!

  • http://ejegmama.blogspot.com/ Stephanie

    You look great! I’ve always found natural hair amazing probably bc its so different from my own but I think its so cool. Cost is the major reason I’ve never started dying my hair and I find it so funny how often my friends say things like “well if my gray hair came in in highlights like yours I’d keep it” I always tell them if they would just take the plunge it probably would.

  • Linda L

    Nadine – great post. I love natural African-American hair and it looks beautiful on you. So glad you did this and thank you for sharing your story.

  • Katie

    How could you not prefer & LOVE that second photo? Fabulous!!! Love!

  • Aunt Vixen

    Oh! It looks fantastic!!!

  • Jennifer H.

    I LOVE it! I am white, and my best friend of the last 5 years is black. I knew next to nothing about black hair care until we became friends. I have been fascinated by it ever since, and have two friends who have gone natural via The Big Chop. Both of them have really embraced their new hair, and one regularly wears wigs now when she wants a change. Anyway, I think short hair suits your features quite nicely, and I love the shining happiness coming from your smile!

  • Doris

    Thanks for sharing, you look amazing!!

  • Brenda

    Thanks for sharing, Nadine. I’m hesitant to comment on how cute your natural hair is because maybe that’s not helpful and I’m just judging. But, I see your inner beauty shining in the second photo with the curls.

  • http://www.sheilaephemera.blogspot.com Sheila

    Nadine, you look beautiful with your natural hair – I loved reading your story. Thank you for sharing it – you’re an inspiration to anyone considering going natural, whether it’s texture or colour (I’m coming in nearly all grey these days, and still dyeing it).

  • http://khinky.wordpress.com Osprey

    Thanks for such an inspirational post! I don’t have the same hair experiences but you make it so easy for many of us to relate. This part in particular made me pause and think:

    “I do feel, at times, that beauty is my obligation and making myself attractive is a major clause in my contract with the rest of society. I feel like I’m always expected to care about how I look, that being pretty is something I’m supposed to want.”

  • AnnR

    Your hair looks great.

    Although I’m White I live and work in Washington DC where I see and hear a lot about Black women’s hair journeys. I can’t imagine the expense or the time involved in having your hair done frequently. I would guess that $1,500 a year is on the low-medium end of hair maintenance for a lot of professional women!

    My feeling is that as long as you look deliberate and not like you just rolled out of bed, it’s beautiful.

  • Ellen

    Love it!!

  • LP

    I love love love naturally curly hair. I love YOUR hair.

  • Maggie

    Welcome to the Bay Area! Thanks to your beautiful picture, I know who to look around for as I am out and about! I also live around the corner from a well-known curly hair/natural hair salon, Madusalon!

  • http://seraphinalina.blogspot.ca/ Seraphinalina

    It is amazing how complex our relationship with hair can be. I am with the purple haired engineer above that it’s just hair. I know that. I’m not scared of changing my hair. I stopped colouring it and I’ve come to terms with my white hairs. I am not keen on their texture, but I love the look.

    And yet… I haven’t cut my hair in 3 years. It’s now long enough I’ve decided to cut it off and donate it. I’m good with that, even looking forward to it being short again. But I can’t seem to book the appointment. I managed to tie my hair to infertility – chosing to pamper myself with a hair cut and colouring (when I did colour it) when pregnancies ended too soon. 3 years ago my hairdresser had a baby and I just couldn’t be bothered after that. I’d like to make the change but I think I need to time it with something happy, so I think things like “I cut my hair on my birthday”, not “I cut my hair after the miscarriage”.

    I’m not sure there is anything more complicated than the relationship we have with ourselves.

    • http://www.franticbutfabulous.com Heidi/Frantic But Fabulous

      First, my condolences for your losses. I like your idea of finding a happy reason to pamper yourself. It won’t ever erase your loss, of course, but it might separate it from the ability to enjoy taking care of your hair, at least a little bit. (I hope that makes sense.)

      • http://seraphinalina.blogspot.ca/ Seraphinalina

        Thank you, and yes, it makes total sense and exactly what I’m aiming for.

  • https://www.facebook.com/SisterSpokesman Laura

    I shared this amazing post on the Sister Spokesman facebook page, since we recently had an event focusing on natural hair, and haircare. Thanks so much for such a fantastic guest post!

  • Genevieve

    You look beautiful

  • Mar

    Wow, you look amazing with short hair! Fuck yeah, short-haired ladies.

  • poodletail

    Look at you! Stunning in your short hair on your perfectly-shaped head!

  • Annabeth

    You look great! You have the perfect face shape for short hair, and I think the natural curls are terrific and stylish.

  • http://www.iamweesha.com Weesha

    Thank you for sharing your story, it’s perfectly understandable to be so fearful about a hair cut. We tell ourselves it’s just hair, but our hair has such a huge emotional connection to our identity. This was such a huge decision to make and I don’t think it’s merely about wanting to be pretty, it has a lot to do with feeling awesome about ourselves as well. The outcome is so worth it though, you look so beautiful!

  • http://denimdebutante.com Hayley

    Loved this post. It really is an emotional journey. I’m not African-American myself but I have several friends who within the past year or two have transitioned to natural hair, and I love watching the transformation. I really love natural hair and hate that our society stigmatizes natural hair.

  • nishaa

    Damn! That is inspiring, girl! Keep it up!

  • nishaa

    Damn! That was inspiring, girl! Way to go. .

  • http://couturgatory.blogspot.com Aya

    Thank you so much for sharing Nadine, your article is awesome. I love that you not only did this very brave thing, but that you approached it step-by-step in a way that made sense to you.

    And I mean this not in the conventional-attractiveness-is-everything sense, but you ROCK your new natural hair. Your photo is jump out of the screen radiant.

    The lack of natural black hair in any sort of modeling photos and advertisements makes me more annoyed the more I think about it. ):

  • http://unefemme.net une femme d’un certain âge

    Nadine, you look FABULOUS!!! Thanks for sharing this journey.

  • http://carlykablooey.wordpress.com Carly

    You are radiant like the sun on a cloudless day! I never knew about this kind of hair journey until I became Facebook friends with an old high school friend who has been a naturalista for some time. I am a huge fan of natural hair and I’m so impressed with your courage to try it. And also sad that you (and many men and women) were made to feel ashamed for no godblessed reason. BE GONE shame, you are fabulous with short natural hair and I cannot wait to see it evolve as it grows. It’s so funny how we can tangle our self worth up so tightly with certain aspects of our appearance. It must feel giddy to be liberated from all that. Read back over these comments in your moments of doubt! They are the truth.

  • Sarah

    I love this article. I love your new hair! Not that it matters AT ALL, but I think you look waaaay younger and your gorgeous, long, elegant neck is beautiful!

    It makes me want to cut my hair short!

  • M-C

    Human sexuality 101: attractiveness is in the eye of the beholder :-).
    You look great. Better, you look like a woman who’s happy with herself, and that’s the best you can be. And from my own point of view straightened hair is absolutely not inconspicuous, it screams a lack of self-confidence on a very sad level. So welcome to being closer to yourself.

  • Ruth

    I need a t-shirt that says “Yeah, I Have the Audacity to Go Out Looking Like This – Get Over It!”

  • http://macbebekin.wordpress.com/ Elsa

    One day, I was in the shower, washing my emerging coils and I thought “I like these.”

    I actually said an audible, gratified “ahhhhhhhh!” when I read that, because it’s a familiar sentiment. (In my case, it was the premature white-and-gray streaks that I finally stopped dying in my 20s.)

    It’s so welcome and surprising amidst all the pressure conform to some external standard. It’s a powerful moment when you come to grips with some aspect of your body as it naturally appears, and instead of fighting or resenting it, you can embrace it with affection: I like this.

  • virago

    Joining the ovation — your new style highlights your eyes and elegant neck.

    And I’m glad to hear that those close to you supported your going natural. Of course, it’s ultimately your hair and your decision, but I know that when I’ve made similarly big moves in my own life, it helps a lot to have someone who can reply, “You did the right thing” even as I’m saying, “What did I do?!”

  • Mia

    Thank you for writing this, Nadine! I’m also trying to remind myself that my appearance is not the most important part of who I am, and it’s sad how big a struggle that is when it sounds so simple and obvious. This post and your happy photo are so inspiring!

  • Lindsay

    I love this post. Thanks!

  • http://recoveringshopaholic.com Debbie Roes

    I loved this post, Nadine, and it came at the perfect time for me. I have also been fighting the natural texture of my hair for many, many years. My hair is naturally wavy and frizzy, but I’ve been flat-ironing it daily for close to 20 years! I wanted my hair to look like Jennifer Aniston’s. I wanted straight, smooth hair, not the hair I was born with.

    For a long time, my hair could handle it and it looked good. I didn’t really mind taking the time, as looking good was of the utmost importance to me. As I’ve gotten older, my hair can no longer take the daily abuse. I have mostly grey hair (I color it every four weeks and spend probably $2000 on this each year) and it has become quite fragile. My hair no longer looks good, but I am afraid to let it go because it’s such a big part of my identity. Although I see lots of beautiful women with short hair, I fear that I won’t look pretty if I cut my hair. I fear I will look old (I’m 47) and unattractive.

    I so admire your courage to face what I know was a very difficult challenge for you. I know I will need to face my personal hair challenge soon and reading your story has given me strength to ready myself for the change. You are still beautiful and as others have said, even more so because you are being true to yourself. Bravo for your strength for for the powerful way you told your story!

    • http://adorkableundies.com Nadine

      Debbie,

      Thank you for being open and sharing your own hair struggles! The fact that you’re even considering making such a major change to your appearance/identity is huge. I totally relate to the fear you describe. But remember, this is all about you. You don’t have to change anything about yourself if you don’t feel ready. Of course, I can’t tell you how you might feel if and when you decide to go short, but I can tell you that you will still be you…and that’s a great thing to be!

  • Shaye

    As a curly-haired white gal, I love natural textures of all stripes. I think black women’s natural hair is particularly beautiful and my heart swells with love every time I see a gal rocking a natural ‘do. Thank you for sharing your story. It was so inspiring! I’m so glad to see more people (of all stripes) embracing their natural textures – straight, wavy, curly, kinky, what have you!

  • Vildy

    I love stories with happy endings!

  • http://adorkableundies.com Nadine

    Wow. I just…wow!

    I really wish I could meet and hug every single one of you. After struggling with this issue for so many years, I am deeply touched by the kind, supportive words I’ve read here in the comments. I couldn’t stop smiling today. Thank you all, so much!

  • Sara

    This was an amazing post. Thank you for sharing. Some of the thoughts you share are among the most profoundly moving things I’ve read in awhile.

  • Yummy mummy

    You are a beautiful individual and very courageous, your short do does call more attention to your lovely features. I can not pretend to understand the trauma involved in constantly chemically straightening your hair, but to change your appearance drastically after so many years is very brave

  • f.

    This is great. I think natural hair is something to celebrate! And how sneaky to put the photo of your new look at the bottom – I tore through the article wondering when I was going to get to see the beautiful results of all your hard work!

  • Patty Hoy

    Love love love the hair. Makes your cheekbones really stand out. You can really rock a short style, even if you keep it that length it would be fab!. You could rock fun wraps and ribbons. Very feminine. And oh so much cooler in the hot weather! And it stays out of your face! Joy! Since i sport a white girl afro (crazy Scottish mop) I know all about “growing your hair out = growing your hair vertical” for a time. I’ve never had straight, sleek hair as defined by mainstream beauty.. My hair makes an entrance into a room before I do. Note: if you grow it long enough it can also be an easy place to store pencils for easy access at school. I’m at about the 10-golf-pencil stage myself. Lots of new hair adventures for you! Because of my curls I have also always loved curls in others: Mediterranean curls, big afros… I actually wish my hair was even curlier at times! I have a coworker (ethiopian ancestry) who reminds me of you.. She rocks a giant afro-bob. It is waist length if straight (she ad it pulled straight once) but barely shoulder length natural. Her motto: the bigger, the better. I tend to agree!

  • Patty Hoy

    I was joking about the pencil storage fyi. Ok maybe not :) i have actually put several pens and pencils in my hair while studying and nobody noticed. Imagine their surprise when I shook my head and they went flying!

  • http://over60andoverhere.blogspot.com.es/ Sue

    What an amazing story – and what an amazing woman! You look absolutely stunning with your natural hair and if you grow it longer and then decide you don’t like it so much, you can go back to this lovely short look without any hesitation.

    I confess that I still dye my hair (I’m over 60) but a lot of that is because the sun bleaches my hair and after six to eight weeks I decide it’s far too blonde for me! I’m naturally dark brown with a few white and grey hairs appearing round the edges. I think I may try not colouring my hair during the winter months and see how it ends up. You’re such an inspiration to all of us!

  • Michele

    I did the “Big Chop” in July after many years of my relaxing, coloring, weaves, treatments etc. I am 46 and I know the surprise factor when you really total it up and realize what you can or should’ve done with that money. My husband is Italian and would say “your hair never grows”. Well all that relaxing and straightening didn’t help and he always said I would be beautiful with short hair and I should just chop it off. Well no way I was doing that I identify girly and pretty with long straight hair. Well the weather was terrible last month lots of rain and I just kept slicking it back anyway and I liked the look so I broke down and told my hairdresser to go ahead chop it off I was gonna stop relaxing and give my hair a break to grow. You know what? I LOVE my new short natural and keep thinking I should’ve done this long ago.

  • http://www.jauntydame.com Rebekah Jaunty

    *thunderous applause*

  • Victoria

    The new ‘do is AMAZING! You look absolutely radiant! At 33, I’m in the middle of growing out years of colour and embracing my grey. Already folks have commented, and sometimes I wonder why *my* hair should be subject to *their* approval.

    Enjoy your new awesomeness, and good luck with the upcoming school year!

  • Janet Urquhart

    I love , love , love the new hair. I know that as a white woman I really don’t get the straight hair issues that my black friends have. All I can say is that I have always thought natural hair so much prettier than straight. I have stick straight and spend my life trying to get some texture. I love the hair, the smiling face, the glowing skin and most particularly your impressive writing skill. Go for it. You are beautiful.

  • Jay

    Firstly, you look gorgeous!
    Secondly, please don’t feel you need to spend 1500 dollars a year on phone calls! You can get an internet-based calling card and reduce that to a much more negligible amount.

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  • Suz

    You look adorable! I was loving reading this, especially the part where you spoke to our fears of being out and looking like…us/who we are.

    But I couldn’t take the suspense and scrolled – and its so cute! It was quite a learning experience (about black hair and all that it entails) in school for me – but women, we have these things. All of us. You look great. And younger somehow too (bonus!) Maybe its the happy :)

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