The Big Chop

3:54 PM Keenya Kelly 0 Comments


 I have officially lost my mind....is what one person told me the day I showed up after my Big Chop. It was November 29th, 2009. I transitioned for 4 months and one day as I sat typing on my computer at work, I told myself..."Nuttin to it, but to do it." I called Jenay and told her I'd be over on friday and it was going down. But sistahs...it wasnt that simple. Not in the slightest. Ill go back to that night and beyond in a moment. I grew up in a house where I was the "Little Dark One." I am the youngest of 4, the one that received the most whoopings, got the most attention from Grandpa, but the least attention from Mama. So I sorta grew up and became "Self Conscious" like most women do. (They do, they just won't admit it). I excelled in school, I was extremely popular: Class President, Honor Roll (once...lol. Once counts folks), And Homecoming Queen. Not to mention I dated Monte who was fine as wine and sweet like Candy...Let the church say AMEN (amen) lol. But something inside of me was self-conscious. I desired the approval of people, I wanted the attention from my mother, but since I wasn't going to receive it I excelled and learned to "sell myself" through my personality to people so that I was the "life of the party" and the one everyone wanted to be-friend, but deep down I was like everyone else. "Self Conscious and Miserable." I went to college, pledged in a sorority and excelled at making friends or acquaintances I should say, but still deep down I didnt know who I was. All my life I excelled in making people like me for how I made them feel, being the life at the party and not allowing people to "find out who I really was" that I sorta lost myself. I lost myself so much that when I met a man I was willing to settle and wanted him to find me for me. Wrong Answer. I use to make fun of the girls that had natural hair, saying their hair was nappy and I would NEVER do that, as if they asked my opinion.
Then I moved to Richmond, VA and began attending a local church. I was at an event one day and upon meeting these  two girls I remember telling them that I would "never do that;" as if they cared. (I later apologized to them 2 years later, they accepted my apology.) But the reason I would never do that was because I was so afraid of what people would think of me. I was under the impression that women who were natural were what I call "Black Power" women. They read all the black power books, went the to rallys, were sorta feminist or extremist and were anti-this and anti-that. I dunno how things started to shift in me, but one day something happened. I went to a Wal-Mart in Petersburg, VA and was afraid because 99% of the people in the store were black. I was ashamed of some of them, didnt want to be associated with them, but deep down I realized the problem was me. It wasnt everyone else...it was me!! I remember buying an Essence Magazine later and realizing that I hated me!!! I was so use to trying to be what everyone wanted me to be, do what they wanted me to do, wear the latest and blah blah blah, that I didnt know who I was. Its crazy to admit, but Most of the women I know are the same way. I can't blame them, because all we know is what we have been surrounded by. No one in my family ever desired to learn the history of African Americans or live in predominantly black neighborhoods, or let their nature hair grow out...so to me it seems like God moved me from lil ole Radcliff, Ky so that I could embark upon the journey of Self-Discovery. I remember sitting at dinner with a man I was seeing and had known for quite some time in DC and I told him I was thinking of going natural. He laughed and continued to eat, then looked up at the bartender and said "Why, you think your hair is going to look like hers? Keenya she has GOOD hair, your hair won't look like that." And that again sent me into another self-conscious state. I was like...hmmm...if he doesnt like it then I shouldn't do it. I need to please him and if he doesnt think it will look good on me then I shouldnt do it. But I decided not to listen to anyone, but myself.. I began growing my hair out and I HATED how my hair appeared. I would flat iron the roots down to my scalp, one day I washed my hair and my hair was in the size of a football helmet....so I did the unthinkable and got a relaxer. Whew I was in the clear...but everytime I walked down the street and saw natural women that feeling tugged at me again that it was time to embrace myself.
I'm very outgoing and have no problem talking to people, so I began stopping women on the street asking to touch their hair, how long they had been natural, why they went natural, what they use on their hair, if they are single. And by the Glory of God all the women happily allowed me to touch their hair and answered all of my questions. I thank God for all of those women...because the people I was associating myself with weren't the most positive people, and I can't blame them, because I was the same way. I do realize now that the reason people and I were against going natural was/is because its different, and in todays society different is not celebrated but more so tolerated and nobody wants to be tolerated. But in November 20th, 2009 I decided that enough was enough. We cut my hair off and the journey of self-discovery began.

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