On August 18th, 2016, I did the big chop.
The night before, I had a little pep talk with God. Here’s an abbreviated version of the conversation that transpired in my journal:
“God, I’m really considering doing the big chop with my hair, but the thought of doing it gives me such a strong fear in my gut. I am terrified of cutting off my hair…But why? Why am I so scared? Why is my identity so wrapped up in my hair? Why do I think I will be the ugliest human being in the world if I cut my hair?…God I need you. I need you to help me be okay with the big chop. I need you to help me embrace the change, oh Lord… I need you to help me know I am wonderfully and fearfully made and can’t nobody take away the beauty I have in you. I am not beautiful because of my hair, I am beautiful because the joy of the Lord is my strength and Your glorious light shines through me.”
Less than twenty-four hours later, I was standing in the hair shop. “I think I want to do the big chop,” I said to Miss Kay, my incredible hairdresser I had grown to love my past year in New Haven. I stared at her and she stared at me. I felt like she was looking straight into the depths of my soul.
You see, I had dropped the idea of cutting my hair several times prior, but she could always tell I was never really serious. She would always just smile and say, “You’re not ready for that big of a change, my dear.” Every time I would secretly be relieved because she was right, I wasn’t ready. But this day, she looked straight back at me and said with such sincerity, “You’re ready.”
“I’m ready?” I responded, a bit shocked. I thought she was going to call my bluff again and tell me I wasn’t ready for it, but classic Miss Kay. She knew. She knew something had changed within me this time.
“When do you want to do it?” were the next words out of her mouth.
My mind started racing. Oh shoot. Shoot, shoot shoot! This is actually happening. I’m actually doing the big chop. Like for real for real. I looked at her and sheepishly asked, “Umm, maybe next week, or in two weeks?” She remained silent with a look in her eyes that seemed to be saying, Nope. Wrong answer. Try again. “I mean….do you have any availability today?”
Not even one second had passed after I said “today” before Miss Kay responded with an enthusiastic, “Yep!” Within in the hour I was doing the big chop.
You can tell from my facial expressions and commentary throughout the video that I was struggling. As I saw the hair fall to the ground, I began questioning everything I knew. What was I thinking? My hair is gone. My length is gone. My face cannot handle this. I don’t have the face for short hair. Oh my gosh I look like my brother. I LOOK EXACTLY LIKE MY BROTHER WHEN HE HAD AN AFRO. At the end of that first cut, I felt as though I’d made the biggest mistake of my life. I was trying to be strong, but it was hard.
Then Miss Kay decided to go a bit shorter in the back and on the sides. “Feel back here,” she said as she directed my hand towards the back of my head, “that’s where your true curls are hiding. I think we should go shorter.” At the point I didn’t think I could look any worse, so I agreed. “Okay, let’s do it.”
After this second cut I was starting to feel a bit better. I wasn’t in love with the cut, but I was no longer mortified.
Then Miss Kay put some water on my hair and yooooooo, that’s when I saw it! That’s when I saw my little curls! They were beautiful–the literal definition of poppin’. I could feel the little curly cues and coils with my fingers and I was in love.
I was also super hyped that I could feel my actual head. My hair has always been so thick and long, I would joke how I didn’t need a pillow to sleep because my hair was my pillow (it really was). But for the first time I could feel my head without having to dig through layers of hair, and at that moment, Beyonce’s lyrics were high key speaking to me, “Freedom! Freedom! I can’t move, Freedom, cut me loose!”
There are still a lot of thoughts circling around in my head, and there’s so much more I want to say about how I came to this decision, but for now, I’m just basking in the bliss of knowing I am fearfully and wonderfully made and God is perfect in all of his ways, including the creation of my curly little fro 🙂
“For you, oh Lord, formed my inner parts; you, Oh Lord, knitted me together in my mother’s womb. You ordained every drop of melanin in my skin and you orchestrated every twist and turn to each strand of hair. I praise you, Oh Lord, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I am clothed in regality. My hair is my crown, with curl-shaped jewels. Wonderful are your works, Oh Lord; my soul knows it very well.” Nia’s modified version of Psalm 139:13-14
P.S. I want to thank all y’all for the affirmation and love you’ve sent my way. I didn’t write this post or change my profile picture for the sake of garnering likes or comments. However, I cannot deny that I am human and as hard as I try not to care what others think, I do. To see y’alls love and support of my decision has meant the world. Every like. Every comment. Every text. Every voice memo. So appreciated. Thank you.