My life hasn’t been the same since I did it. I chopped off all my hair at 2AM on December 11, 2011. Many have asked “Whyjadoit?!?!?!?!”
Well, here’s the real reason. I’ve had hair past my shoulders for years. Long, “beautiful,” bouncy, salon hair. I’d committed to transitioning from chemical relaxers to my own natural hair, but after only five and a half months of trying to grow the relaxer out and my natural hair in, it had become a “project” that I didn’t have time for. I was spending more time trying to figure out how to make the two textures comply than I had with a relaxer! For me, the two textures were NOT working and I had to make a decision.
I was afraid. Afraid of how I’d look. Afraid that my nose would be too big, afraid that I wasn’t ready for the texture that God had given me. So, while I watched my daughter love her own low-maintenance-natural hair I was struggling with the fear of not having my long, bouncy, flowing, relaxed, and familiar hair. I was afraid that my facial shape wouldn’t fit the “BIG CHOP”.
Transitioning helped me realize why I NEEDED to big chop and continue on this journey. As my own natural hair was growing in I was eventually able to feel and get acquainted with the shape of the tight curls growing from my scalp. Normally, I’d slap relaxer on them before they had a chance to bend and form. The transition allowed me to feel the coils that had developed in my natural curl pattern, and I was intrigued by them. Without even realizing it, I had fallen in love with my “own hair,” the hair that God had graced me with-and it made it easier to let go my inhibitions. At that moment I let go all the hidden desires to have “white girl hair” and to embrace the kinks I’d been born with. So, in the dawn of the morning, I let go of hair that had been manipulated to look like someone else’s to embrace who I was and who I am. Without question or conversation I passed the scissors to my daughter and told her to “just cut it all off”.
As the hair hit the floor I couldn’t believe I’d finally done it, but I had no regrets! I was finally free from what society expected me to look like in order to be considered beautiful, intelligent, professional, or acceptable. I was free to be the black girl God made me and free to love ALL of me.
After living with a relaxer for over thirty years of my life, my head hit the pillow for the first time and I felt safe. When I woke up later that morning, I touched my head and thought…’Wow, it wasn’t a dream, I realllllyyyyy cut off all my hair.’ BUT! I wasn’t sad. I’ve never been happier with a decision. I LOVE me.
What was even more exciting to experience was the reactions I got from people the first time they saw my big chop – “I love it. Wow it fits you. I could never cut off all my hair. My head’s too big. My hair is too nappy, What made you do that? Wow, you’re brave.” Then, there were those who said nothing at all. After knowing me 10+ years, they were in such shock (or didn’t like it) that they said nothing at all.
Finally, two years later my natural hair looks so…..natural! It looks and feels like me, and people have gotten used to seeing ME. Many other African American women are embracing this awakening to be just who God made them. Others will continue to follow, many already have. It’s not a trend, it’s who we are.
Pictured above: Big Chop and a recent natural style
De’Vonna Pittman is a local Author and Philanthropist residing in Minneapolis, MN.
Read her non-fiction “My Pretty and Its Ugly Truth”