So as some of you may or may not know, today marks exactly one year since I cut off all of my hair. This may not seem like a big deal to some, but it was a huge deal to me for many different reasons.
Prior to cutting my hair off, I have always had long hair. I am not talking about hair that reaches my shoulders, but rather hair that reached at least half way down my back. Other than trimming my hair, I hadn’t cut it since I was three and decided to cut off one of my pig tails. My hair was long, natural (as in no weaves or extensions), and thick. My hair was so thick that my family even had a saying about it. They would always say ‘Nicole, when God was handing out hair you must have thought he said care and give me plenty’. It was so thick that everyone absolutely dreaded having to comb it or do anything more than throw it in a pony tail. Just doing that would take around 30 minutes.
I finally cut my hair, not out of choice, but necessity. I had gone through a very long, very painful depression. As a result of that I neglected to take care of my hair. I mean, despite it being really long, I never did anything with it, and I would just throw it up in a bun and run out the door. Well it became so knotted it was like one giant dreadlock. Anyone who knows anything about dreads knows that in order to get rid of them, you have to cut them out. One day it was like the fog had cleared and I was able to take a good look at myself in the mirror.
My hair was a mess and there was nothing for me to do but cut it. I got out the scissors and proceeded to try and cut it myself. It took me almost 3 hours of cutting and I had only cut off the bottom half of my hair. And all throughout the 3 hours, I cried like a baby. I’m talking big, long, drawn out howls of pain and shame.
For some reason I had forgotten that I was supposed to be headed up to my mothers house that very same day to hook up her cable. Well needless to say when she showed up to pick me up I was a mess of crying and half butchered hair. I wouldn’t even take off my hood to show her. I picked up the phone and called my step-mother, whom I call Auntie Kathy, and sobbed down the line that I needed her to cut off all my hair. When my mom and I made it to my father and step-mother’s house, I had managed to calm down just a little bit, but immediately burst into tears once again.
Auntie Kathy sat me down at the kitchen table with my mom on one side, my dad on the other, and proceeded to cut off all my very long, very thick, and very knotted hair. I, at 32 years of age at the time, alternated between crying and hysterical for the entire time, while my family tried to reassure me that everything will be okay. 3 hours after I arrived at my dads house and 6 hours after this whole thing began, we were done and this is what it looked like.
Now I wasn’t completely bald at the end of all that, but for me, it was pretty damn close. I left my hair a little longer on top and went really short everywhere else. Kind of like an English ‘short back and sides’. The crying had completely stopped, but I was still overwhelmed. What the hell did I know about taking care of short hair? Short, natural hair to be correct. That’s right, not only was my hair short, but it was also going to be completely natural. And by natural, I mean I wasn’t going to put any relaxer on it at all. I think that it is important to point out that I had been relaxing my hair for over 20 years at this point. So going natural was another huge step, but I figured I might as well go big.
By that evening I had calmed down enough to post the picture you see above on Instagram. Bolstered by the positive feedback I received from friends and family, I started to look on the bright side of things. At least I would no longer get tension headaches from having my hair up in a pony tail all the time.
Here I am exactly one year later and looking back on it, cutting my hair was one of the best things I have ever done in my life. In the end, it turned out to be incredibly freeing and not something I have regretted. While I haven’t regretted cutting it, I don’t think I would do it again. I still don’t like short hair on me, despite everyone else loving it. I like long hair, so yes, I am actively trying to grow it back. But this time I am growing it because this is what I like, not because it’s what is expected of me. My biggest joy has been embracing my natural hair. I would have never dreamed of wearing my hair natural prior to the big chop; despite having what is considered ‘good hair’. What does it look like now? Well take a look at what one year’s growth looks like for me.
It appears that even though my hair has always been thick and always grown pretty quickly is growing even faster and even thicker since the big chop.
Join me next week when I talk about some of the things I’ve learned about hair and myself over the past year.