All About Hair | The Accidental Chop
The “big chop” is a phrase used to describe the freedom of hair from social restraints. It is invigorating, cathartic, and a reminder that who we are in our natural state is enough- regardless of what the media tells us.
The “big chop” is now an affectionate term used by women of colour to describe their reversion to their natural hair and shift away from perms, relaxers and other methods of making their hair “socially acceptable.” It is a means of taking power back and a symbol of pride because natural hair is beautiful! So much so, that even our #champagneseries co-founder and writer @chivvaunabigail went through the big chop herself (see blog here)!
But, what happens when you get a big chop...that you didn’t ask for…..
Last week, I shared my journey to loving my hair with you.
As a recap, I was addicted to my straightener, because I thought straight hair made me “beautiful.”
That is... until one day I realized that I was actually destroying my natural curls.
In an attempt to revitalize my hair, I put down my straightener and began the process of growing out my straggly locks. I didn’t do the big chop; but, I did focus a lot on my hair's health! After about a year, I noticed a tremendous change… and my hair had finally started to grow!
By May 2018, I had been growing my hair out for exactly one year. I was ecstatic with how much it had changed. It was softer, more lustrous, and actually pretty long!
Fully stretched, it was about bra length; so, I figured it was a good time to get a trim! I made an appointment with my hairdresser (I had been doing minor trims myself over the course of the year) and needless to say, after working her magic, when I faced the mirror, I was stunned. My hair looked amazing! I was so pleased with the progress, that I spent the next week acting a fool; flipping my hair and sashaying through the streets like “who can talk to me? -- no one!”
But, here’s the thing, you know how they say, “Give someone an inch and they’ll take a mile?” Yup -- that’s me. I got greedy.
Fast forward to August 2018….
Up until that point, I had only straightened my hair that one time; but, since my birthday was coming up, I decided to treat myself!
After that first taste of the straight-life (in a long time), I was feeling myself -- and, because I wanted to slay, I knew my hair just had to be straight! Of course, I wouldn’t straighten it at home; but, going to the salon couldn’t hurt...right?
The day before my birthday, I pulled up to the salon and I was hyped! I was going to have a big party; my outfit was going to be on point; and my hair was going to be straightened to the T. I was ready.
Well, my regular hairdresser did not get the memo because something came up and she had to cancel my appointment.
You know how God gives you a sign when you shouldn’t do something? This was one of those times. But, my birthday look wouldn’t be complete without my hair sleek and straight with a snatched middle part. I pressed.
I arranged an appointment with another stylist, and just like Murphy’s law dictates, everything that could go wrong absolutely did. Instead of giving me the touch-up trim and style that I requested, sis gave me the premium butcher special! My hair was like Black Friday prices ----- Slashed! In a matter of minutes, I went from bra-length to 50% off.
As she proudly displayed her work, I stared at my reflection in the mirror. I was in between shock and horror as I tried to fathom exactly what happened. A whole year’s worth of work and hundreds (and I mean hundreds) of dollars worth of Shea Moisture was literally swept into the dustbin.
I shuffled out of the salon like a robot; angry thoughts exploding in a panic through my head.
What was the point of embracing the natural? Why did I give up straightening only to end up right back where I started?
I was devastated.
Everyone around me kept saying, “Oh--it’s just hair..it’ll grow back;” but, that only made it worse!
I had gotten the big chop and it was NOT by choice! If you’ve ever been butchered at the salon, you know how traumatizing the permanency of an unwanted haircut is. The worst part was, that I had struggled with my hair identity for so long and I had finally gotten to a place where I was comfortable with it. But, in an instant POOF! My hair was just gone! Furthermore, not only was it chopped -- it was also chopped badly! It was uneven and I looked like a grade A hot mess!
After about a month of despair (aka crying every time I looked in the mirror), I finally took a moment to reassess.
I was not my hair.
Yes, it looked horrible; BUT, it was healthy. It was full, shiny, and thriving in spite of the botched cut. And the best part was, when it was curly, you couldn’t even tell!
I finally decided to stop stressing about my situation and accept it for what it was. “Just hair”. It would grow back. So, in October 2018, I started my journey again.
This leads us to today.
Over the past few months, I’ve been trying new techniques and products, educating myself on health and my texture. Overall, I've just been embracing, loving, and appreciating my curls at whatever length or stage they’re at!
Now that I’m about 10 months into my second journey, I’ve found that it’s definitely growing faster this time around. I have finally nailed down the products and techniques that work for me!
Though it’s been a rough few months, especially during that awkward stage where no hairstyle looked quite right, I can honestly say that this cloud had a silver lining. Because I couldn’t really style it, I had to wear it curly and out (something I never did ...ever!). It forced me to find a confidence I didn’t have before! Long or short; straight or curly, I am not my hair -- I am so much more.
Turns out, the big chop really does empower -- whether on purpose or by mistake!
So, for all of you out there suffering from an unfortunate scissor situation, OR debating whether or not the big chop is for you, just know that you are so much more than your hair! So, take the plunge and embrace the change! It may just turn out better than you expect!
Tune into the next addition of our Champagne Series: All About Hair where I go through my favourite products and break down all of the things I did to grow my hair out!
If you (or anyone you know) are on your own hair journey OR have any hair-horror stories you’d like to share, feel free to comment them below, tag us on social media, or just send us a quick email.
Don’t forget to #thechampagneseries in all your hair pics, because we’d love to share in the journey with you!