Now I saw a satirical article titled, ‘Study: Women with Natural Hair have low self esteem’.
Firstly, people should have known it was untrue because the accompanying photo was of one of the most self confident and fierce black women with natural hair – Solange. Like really? Pssh! How do you pair Solange with low self confidence?
But the article got tongues wagging across the globe. It generated comments, got interaction for the site and it had natural hair notice boards and groups abuzz.
Why were people so up in arms and ready to scream that the article is a lie, nothing about it is true, all the information is wrong and it could not be farther from the truth?
I have natural hair and I have low self esteem as it relates to my hair since I big chopped; and I know that I am NOT an anomaly, neither am I alone. Hence as some of us will admit, the article hit a nerve because it was NOT a joke, it was NOT funny, for some it is a reality and truth!
However, if you realise, the title of MY post is NOT that women with natural hair have low self esteem but more specifically, women who have big chopped!
What’s the difference? Now before the women with tapered cuts jump down my throat, a tapered cut is a hairstyle, it’s an option and it’s even trendy presently if that matters to you. But a big chop is none of those things.
A big chop is a change. It’s a farewell. It’s drastic!
When someone big chops they have all the reasons – to return to natural, to embrace their natural hair, to be more healthy, to get rid of heat damage, to shop shedding, to even out lengths, to cut hair before chemotherapy can do damage, etc.
A big chop is for many reasons but it is not a hairstyle! Many people big chop, then taper to embrace their short style.
Now all of that to say, the big chop takes a toll on you emotionally, especially when the people you want to accept your new look are the ones being negative. To all of you saying, screw them, who cares, walk away…what are people to do when those persons are loved ones – parents, siblings, boyfriends, husbands, in-laws, your children etc.?
You can try to be fearless with your big chop. You can try to come to grips with it. You can try to get accustom to the person in the mirror. But when other people whose opinion matter do not see all your effort to make the big chop work, you are left deflated.
Hearing things like, “Why you would do that?” “You hair real picky!” “I don’t know why you would cut your hair” “You and that…disgusting. It just look disgusting!”
When you are already trying to love your new look and your new reflection, each of these verbal attacks can really derail you. Whoever said sticks and stones may break my bones but words do not hurt me… THEY LIED LIKE HECK!!! Words hurt. They cut. They are sharp. They can slice you to the core.
There will be the people and the other naturalistas who shower you with compliments but sometimes, you want that compliment from someone specific.
Negative comments from certain individuals can break you, your spirit, your self esteem and yes, your confidence.
Don’t start feeling for me, or thinking OH MY GOSH what is wrong with her? As I said, I am happy that I am fully natural. I LOVE my curl pattern. I LOVE my hair texture. I really am not comfortable with my length. I have said this before, so you know I aint lying. And so now while I work on this and work on me… I have embarked upon a 3-month protective style challenge.
Did my challenge arise as a way to get away from dealing with this stage in my natural hair journey? Is it a way to hide my hair? Is it a way to please others? Is it a way to regain my self confidence and boost my self esteem?
All I know is I got past having eczema. I got past my psoriasis. I got past wearing glasses. I got past being short. I got past being a nerd. I got past not sounding like a Bajan and having to put up with those comments and questions. So, I can get past this and best of all, that’s all that matters to me.
So whether my challenge is my coping mechanism or not, I am confident that I got this too.
I know: Psalm 139:14New International Version (NIV)
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
I am just taking time to adjust to seeing this me. How long that takes I don’t know because if I am honest, it’s been a week and I miss playing with my curls already. So for me that is an AWESOME sign. Told you guys I may not make it 3 months…but I like I wont make it 3 weeks lololol
So if you big chopped and feel broken, do NOT feel alone, and don’t stay feeling down. DO SOMETHING ABOUT. How you deal is up to you – scarves, braids, cornrows, weaves, wigs, DO YOU! Get your confidence back and your self esteem will rise.
This is but a stage in your journey, not the destination.