I Chopped: Returning to My God-Given Roots

I choppedTo be accurate, I didn’t chop it; someone else did it for me. A few days before the big day, which was the last Sunday in June, I did attempt to fly solo by following the guidance of countless YouTube videos I’ve watched, but I soon discovered that I was in way over my head and needed the help of a professional. So, I scheduled an appointment with my friend’s stylist.

I wasn’t as nervous as thought I would be. I’d gotten to the point in which I was as ready as ready could be. About 11 months of Rachel hair was making the relaxed hair become really tangled, and washing my hair was frustrating. I could only get my hair truly de-tangled when it was drenched. The roots were extra puffy; the hair was hard to pull back in a bun; and the bun seemed to become smaller because my roots got puffier and the relaxed hair was breaking off. It was time.

After about two-and-a-half hours, I walked out of the salon with short hair, natural hair styled into finger twists. I didn’t really like it. I felt weird. I felt like the world was staring at me. “Woah, Rachel,” I crafted words out of a stranger’s expression. “What did you do?”

When I got home, my sister, who learned I was going to the salon to do the deed just a few minutes before I walked out the door said, “That’s cute.” I was shocked because Alana does not lie.

“Really?” I asked.

“Yeah.” She said with a look that matched her next statement. “You know I would tell you if you were walking around here looking crazy.”

I spent the next few hours wandering around the house, wondering about how my hair would look the next day and what people at work would say. I reminded myself, “It’s just hair. It grows.”

As time passed, the reality of my hair hit me. For the first time since the first or second grade there was nothing but Rachel hair on top of my head. Did I like it? I wasn’t sure yet, partly because I knew there was a lot of work ahead of me. I knew that my hair was a beast that needed to be tamed. But I also knew that this beast has a ton of potential once I train it to do what I want it to do.

I wore the finger twists for two days. On the eve of the Fourth of July, I tried a braid out while watching Downton Abbey with Alana. It was not my favorite, but Alana said it was fine. Wednesday night, I tried two-strand twists, and it was much better, but I discovered that I had to rebraid my hair the next night. I started to worry about the time commitment my hair required and prayed to the Lord that He would make it grow fast. I started taking a multivitamin that contains nutrients hair loves, and I started to massage my scalp. Sometimes, I would stroke a wave on my head, saying, “Be encouraged, little guy! Grow!”

On Friday, I spent most of the evening working on my hair. I had to wash it because products I used during the week reacted poorly and made white residue build up in my hair. It looked like Christmas in July. I used my new favorite brush (Denman) and the products I had stashed away for the big day. I started on my first set of two-strand twists. I decided to take my time, create small twists, and train my hair to fall and curl the way I wanted. Surprisingly, the experience was relaxing. Often, I am an anxious person, and for once, I did not nervously watch the clock, calculating how long the task was taking.

In fact, I enjoyed doing my hair. I prayed. I thought. I spent time getting to know my hair. The right side of my hair is the curliest, and as a result, it holds the two-strand twists the best. The crown has the softest hair. The back is the most textured, and the left side’s twists don’t match the right’s. They’re not as plump, and the ends are frizzy. However, I learned that if I brush individual sections of hair with the bristles pointing away from me, I can train the hair to turn downward.

Because I spent so much time on my hair, the twists looked pretty good. I wore them for a few days before I took them out this morning and styled my “twist-out,” as they call it. Today was the best hair day I’ve had in a week, and the photo above was the hairdo for the day. I admit that I snapped the best angle. Other perspectives made it look like I was sporting a mullet.

I am learning that natural hair is an organism of its own. We’ll see what tomorrow brings.

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