So you have been thinking of going natural for a while now and you decided to take the plunge and take it all off. If you did, then chances are that this post is for you.
The Big Chop or BC is naturalista language for when someone decides to cut off all their hair and start afresh. This could be because of damaged hair, to just start over or to change from one style to another. My BC was a combination of the second and third reasons as I went from dreads to wearing my hair natural.
How do you BC?
Most people just pick up a pair of scissors and chop. I was advised not to go to the barbershop because they would make it to straight and because the assumption of many was that I was planning to grow it so I could relax it and thus would keep it in braids/wig for months. Apparently, the barber cut is very straight and makes it very obvious when you add extensions where your real hair ends.
Because I loved my new cut, I went to the barbershop for a few months.
You want to be very careful because as noted by Inky, many unskilled barbers will just cut your hair like a man’s. You know, short back and sides. Whereas, women need a little more definition and it is not every barber that knows this. I was really frustrated once when the dude made me like like a dude. I had to really go all girly (and I’m not the girly type) for about two weeks, until it grew out a bit.
When deciding to go natural, many people opt to transition for months or even years. However, I ALWAYS advocate the BC for a number of reasons.
1. I have never EVER in my whole life felt as free and as liberated as when I had my really TWA, in the first two months or so after BCing. Every person I have ever spoken to who has BCd has said the same thing. The Big Chop is an emancipation of epic proportions.
2. The BC is the best way to get to know your own hair, by starting at the very beginning, so that you grow and learn and get to know each other together from day one. You will go through the growth stages together — the good, the bad and the awkward.
3. The BC is also the best way of getting the courage and learn how to wear your own natural hair out for the world to see. For most people, wearing wigs, weaves and braids for months or years and then one day expecting that you will have the confidence to wear your natural hair out in public is unrealistic and this is why there are far more closet naturals than outdoor naturals.
4. My confidence levels shot up when I did the BC. Why? Because almost all cultures revere long hair on women. The Bible says that long hair is given to a woman as her crowning glory. We derive so much of our identity from our hair. So, for any woman to step out of the house without any or very little hair, automatically places you above other women in terms of confidence and attitude to oneself and identity. You are declaring that I don’t need hair to look or feel pretty, I am who I am just like this. Even if you don’t feel it, people will think it is true and ascribe this to you. This is what gave some of us the extra courage we needed to wear our hair out as it grew and continue to do so.
Many people who have known me for years, forget that two years ago, I could never have worn an afro the way I do it now. My one regret in my TWA days is that I never had the guts to do the uncombed look. To be honest, this is why I so often toy with the idea of BCing again as there is so much more I would have done with my hair back then. The beauty is that hair always grows, so I expect that I will have had many BCs by the time I am old and grey.