Tuesday, May 28, 2013

On Choppa Style: A Hair Story (Pt. 1)

Happy Tuesday, y'all!  I hope everyone had a great Memorial Day weekend. We did. We grilled and had lots of fun and lots of homemade sangria.  I should post the recipe.  It was so good, my girl Nic went by the store and picked up 2 more bottles of wine so I could make another batch.

Anyway .  . I digress.

I kicked it off on Friday with a big change! I cut off my hair - all of it! This post was so long, that I had to break it into 2 parts, so I'll set up my hair story today and share the rest tomorrow.

I thought that I would start this post with "I Am Not My Hair" by India Arie, but I don't know if I fully agree with the chorus . . .
I am not my hair
I am not this skin
I am the soul that lies within
Arie's sentiments sounds great, but I think those lines are only partially true in my case. I'll explain why in a bit.

First, to make sure we're all on the same page, let's have an educational moment for readers who are unfamiliar with the amazing, creative, and sometimes complicated world of African-American women and their hair.  Hit 'em Dr. Perry: 

Ok. Now that we are all on the same page, I'd like to talk a little bit about how I AM my hair.

I'm not one of those folks who downplays hair like, "My hair is "just hair."  Nope. I'm emotionally attached to mine. My hair holds meaning for me. Going natural when it wasn't in style, before it was "in," before YouTube and natural hair blogs, was tough.  It taught me about individuality, patience, and doing what I believed in.  I had to learn how to go to a beauty salon with my head held high even though I was ashamed because the beauticians were stumped with how to help me.  I had to learn how to style my hair without any YouTube tutorials.  Then when I made the decision to loc, they became special to me, too.  Again, I had naysayers, and I had to stick to my guns.  As I cut my locs off  last Friday, I thought about how my locs had seen me through most of graduate school and my wedding.  As the hairdresser cut away the hair, I thought about how much lighter, both physically and emotionally, I felt. So I disagree a bit with India Arie.  I am my hair; well, my hair is part of who I am.  It grows and changes just like I do.

I'm committed to natural hair.  There's nothing better than soft, spongy, freshly washed natural hair in my opinion.  Plus, going natural did wonders for my scalp.  I have been natural almost all of my adult life, but I don't really care what other people do with their hair.  Actually in the next post, I'll talk about how I went natural on accident in a way.  Most of my friends are permies (lol).  I had my sister crying laughing on the phone because I was talking about getting a perm and some tracks the other day.  I don't belong to the Natural Hair Police Brigade.  I don't do anybody else's hair but mine, so I let grown people do what they want to do.  I just appreciate when others let me do the same.  I've grown used to elders weighing in with their unsolicited opinions, but everyone else should fall back.  You don't have to have a certain face or hair texture to wear natural hair, so when people run up on me saying that kind of stuff, I just give a half smile and silently judge them.  Great natural hair, like ALL hair, is all about flattering styling and good products that work for YOU.

On the other hand, I'm not an avid naturalista. I don't go to natural hair fairs, read a bunch of blogs, or comment on hair forums.  I'm not a product junkie.
I cried laughing the first time I saw this. Been there, done that.
Do y'all see that ranch dressing off to the side?  Tears. 
I don't knock anyone who goes hard for #TeamNatural. I think the natural hair community is awesome, especially for newbies. When I decided to cut my locs last week, I did a little research to find haircuts. I shared some pics and websites with my hubby, and he was floored by all of the sites, blogs, and vlogs about natural hair.  Styling and maintenance for natural hair has come a long way!  It's really cool. I didn't have anyone to help me transition from a relaxer, so the idea of a like-minded community sounds great.  I'm just getting old and crotchety over needing a support group for loving the hair that sprouts out of my head.  I've been natural for almost 14 years.  My hair is kinda kinky and kinda curly, and I let it do what it does. I'm not trying to classify my hair type or malign my hair because it won't lay like Tracee Ellis Ross (whose hair is LAID btw, and it CRANKS!!!!!). That's not what my hair does, and I made peace with that a long time ago.

So instead of India Arie, my song of the moment is "Choppa Style" by Choppa, in honor of what natural girls call a "big chop."  You can take me out the South, but y'all know the rest. Y'all excuse me while I go bounce wit' it and drop it like it's hot. LOL!  

I chopped it all off, and I LOVE IT! My hair is laid like "I don't have a single regret."

I'll be back with part 2 of my hair story tomorrow, so hang on! 

Until next time . . . I'll be walking past mirrors and shocking myself. 


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