My Big Chop, Naturally

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I did it! I walked into the saloon where John my hair dresser, who loved and took great care of my hair, begged me not to, but I did anyway! It’s been two weeks since I chopped off all my relaxed hair. I asked him to shave off the relaxed hair and leave my natural hair (which was about an inch). And so begins my natural hair journey after having relaxed/straight hair for over 10 years. I thought I’d transition into natural hair, but the temptation to get it retouched was overwhelming. Before I continue, I must warn you that this will be a lengthy post with some strong feelings about my hair.

Vast amounts of relaxed hair were lost in the making of this post.

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I feel that my hair became a large part of what defines my beauty which is why I loved it so much, paid for countless products to have it healthy and bouncy. I then started to fall out of love with it, when it turned brown, started breaking and lost beautiful it’s thickness. It had become tiring having to deal with my growth and the way it looked after a few months.

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Growing up for me, there’s a stage in life, where we were allowed to finally treat our hair after having it natural as kids, which sort of initiated you to look after your hair and do whatever you please with it.

One of the reasons I love natural hair so much now, and will grow it out with pride is that it can be worn in so many unique styles.

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My hair is extremely thick. Thickness was a bad thing for me as a child, especially having it combed in the morning as we hurriedly prepared for school. For the first time I’m thrilled to really love and look after my thick natural hair.

I never really appreciated that thickness until now as a grown up. In Kampala, the past 2 years have seen more women embrace their natural hair. Today at least 3 or more women in a crowd will have their natural hair short or in braids. A trend I’m pumped jump onto at this point in my life.

I would rather have as it is-regardless of how it looks to love and take care for it in the best way I can, eliminating the saloon drama. The media I feel has started to have more celebrities like Solange Knowels, Corinne Bailey Rae, Viola Davis, Janelle Monae and Ava DuVarney that are embracing their natural hair, a bold and inspirational move.

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And my friends who have it at this short length I have right now are rocking it. All hair types require time and dedication to achieve healthy hair goals.

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Why I Said Yes to Natural Hair

  1. I love my natural hair! That’s it- I’m not taking a stand against treated/straight hair in anyway.
  2. For that amazing sensation when I wash my hair in the morning and smell fruity all day. Water will finally be my friend, since it’s an essential to moisturizing natural hair. I can’t describe how great it felt those first few days when I wasn’t afraid to stand under the shower, shower cap-less lol!
  3. For the joy of not having to go the saloon so much anymore, plus enjoy more styles especially afro kinky braids. I also hated dryers and I wouldn’t mind never seeing one ever again
  4. Be adventurous-this is the most daring I’ve been with my hair
  5. Going natural, is something I’ve always wanted to do
  6. It’s a trend right now, that requires boldness
  7. With this current hair cut there have been less guys tilting their heads when I strut by or check me out (compared to when I have my hair out) which I don’t mind at all
  8. Do guys think straight hair is sexier than curly hair? I guess this means he’ll have to appreciate my hair as is from now on…if not, move along.
  9. I feel empowered to look after my hair without saloons
  10. It’s time the world appreciates the beauty in natural hair. There’s a huge natural hair community and I’m so glad to finally be a part of it.

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Hmmmm Natural Hair

  1. Means I have to answer more questions as to why I made the change
  2. I’ll miss the feeling of length after retouch
  3. The constant urge to grow it longer, or try out a new style
  4. Products won’t always turn out to be what I hoped they’d be
  5. Taking this too serious! I’m not joining some movement against treated hair but simply trying to enjoy my natural hair after having it relaxed for ages
  6. Trying new styles may not turn out as expected
  7. Okay, I lied about number 7 above ( maybe I mind a little )
  8. Being consistent with my new hair care regime (need to create new hair regime)
  9. Not going back to treated hair, no matter how un-manageable my hair gets
  10. Getting everyone to understand that we are all beautiful black women with our straight/treated or natural hair

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The Reactions So Far:

Of course with every new look or hairstyle come people’s remarks. Here are some comments I’ve gotten these last few days from my friends, who are mostly perplexed, weirdly-angry, shocked and confused ;

  • “Yo Karen, the last time I saw you, you had hair!” Maurice
  • “Now why would you cut your hair!? There must be something you’re not telling us.” Affi
  • “But what’s with you chicks and cutting off all your hair!” Nikita
  • “Karen what happened, did you have lice?” Emma
  • “Hmmm kyoka Karen, you know I hadn’t even recognized you.” Debbie
  • “Oh my gosh you cut your hairrrrr!” Esther, Brenda, Belinda, Agatha and Carol

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I know caring for it won’t always be fun and easy, but I believe going back to being natural has in some way given me liberation and strength.

If you’re thinking about cutting your hair, let me know so we can brace this journey together. If you’ve recently cut it, or have natural hair, I’d be happy to learn how you maintain it.

Stay beautiful,

Karen

 

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