I am pleased to present a guest post by my dear friend, Peju, who was kind enough to share her personal big chop story (locs edition) with Natural Afrodisiac. Even for those of us who love our locs, sometimes you get to the point where it's time to let go. Here is her story. Enjoy.
Last Perm: April 2000 (in preparation for HS graduation)
Locversary 1.0: May 18, 2006
Chopversary 1.0: October 30, 2010
I’ve had a number of people ask me why I decided to cut my locs. My response has typically been synonymous to my current relationship status – It’s Complicated. The truth - it’s not very complicated at all.
I cut my hair because I wanted and needed a fresh start.
I’ve been going through a bit of a “transition phase” for the past year. I had essentially been living a Badu-esque bag-lady lifestyle since the folks at my BigLaw job asked me to “explore other opportunities” (translation: laid me off) in May 2009. I won’t go into the gory details of all the things that have happened in that year, but suffice it to say, life has been very interesting. Halloween weekend marked the end of the couch-surfing stage, because my tenants were moving out of my house just in time for me to move back in. The timing was perfect. I’m currently reinventing myself in a number of ways – personally, professionally, spiritually – and it was necessary for me reflect those transformations in my outward appearance as well.
So I did it. The BC (Big Chop). I moved back to Naptown Halloween weekend. I woke up that Saturday, knowing that I could not go back into my house carrying the same negative energy that had played such a large role in my departure. As you can see from my statistics listed above, I’ve been #TeamNaturalHair for many years now. I’ve never really had issues with self-confidence and recognized my own inner and outer beauty. But over the last couple years, that beauty felt stifled, as if it wasn’t being fully realized.
So I woke up on Saturday October 30, 2010, said a long prayer and drove to the barbershop. As soon as I sat down in the chair, there was a sense of calm that came over me. I wasn’t scared. I wasn’t nervous. I know this is gonna sound uber-cheesy, but it was like my soul was crying out to me. My heart was saying, “If you are ever going to be able to put me back together again, you have to start by first forgiving yourself and then transforming yourself.” I agreed. Inwardly, I felt one way, but outwardly I was projecting something else. Something angry...bitter...broken. Contrary to popular belief, that is not me.
When it was done, I felt renewed!! I felt rejuvenated!! I looked in the mirror, and for the first time in a long time, I saw Peju! The real Peju.
I saw my eyes, and my cheeks, and my lips, and most importantly...
I saw my smile in a way that I had not seen in a long time. It was a genuinely happy smile!! Deeply, completely, and thoroughly happy!
In fact, happiness isn’t the right word. The feeling that came over me when I stood and looked in the mirror...
I was finally rid of the burdens, baggage, regrets, mistakes, pains, betrayals, which I had perpetrated against MYSELF. Does that mean life is perfect? Of course not. But I feel a sense of hope and confidence that I have never felt before. And that’s a deliciously dangerous thing. Because those who knew the old Peju can tell you – confidence was never something I was lacking!!!