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FEATURES May 27 2012 3:28AM

Why I Finally Did The Big Chop

by Rachel Francois

About a year and a half ago I began to notice so many black women rocking the hell out of some Afros and natural styles. My close friend Tannise was one of them. She was always beautiful, but she had a whole different vibe about her once she did the Big Chop. I thought to myself, I wish I had the courage to just cut off all my hair.

Every Saturday morning, I wake up at 7 a.m., get dressed, grab a book or magazine, grab my shopping bag full of products, check the battery on my iPod, grab a bottle of water and a snack, and I make my way to the Dominican salon. Why do I need so many things, you ask? Because I know I’m about to spend four to six hours at the salon. There goes most of my Saturday. After 25 plus years of weekly salon visits, I decided that spending the day in the salon was not the way I wanted to spend a large portion of my much-appreciated weekends and stopped relaxing my hair in hopes of building up the courage to Big Chop one day soon.

Over the next 6 months, I began secretly Googling images of women with TWAs, saving the images of women who I thought looked similar to me on my phone and laptop. As most of my friends know, I’m not the most confident person, and walking around with no hair wasn’t something I thought I could pull off. At first, I didn’t tell anyone I was thinking about doing it, but as my confidence grew, I began to mention it to some family and friends to see what their reactions would be. Now as a Haitian-American woman, culturally long hair is praised, and I’ve always been praised for having a long, thick head of hair, and I was guilty of having that same way of thinking. Most people didn’t even realize I had stopped relaxing because I was still getting my curly roots blown straight by my faithful Dominican blow-dryers. Unsurprisingly, most of my family responded with “Are you crazy?!” and some people blatantly told me, “I don’t think you have the face for that.” But overall, I received a lot of encouragement from friends and even from the men in my life. Their support was the most surprising and appreciated ’cause at the end of the day, my biggest fear was being unattractive to the opposite sex more so than to myself.

By the early months of 2012, I had been on an emotional/confidence rollercoaster in preparation of going natural. Nonetheless, I was ready to schedule my appointment. Throughout the month of February, I scheduled and canceled twice, but they say, “Third time’s the charm” and by March, I was really ready to go and actually showed up for my appointment. Only three people knew what I was gearing up to do that day, and on Friday, March 2, 2012, I took the plunge and Big Chopped! There’s no turning back, and frankly I don’t think I’d ever want to.…


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