My Natural Hair Journey, Chapter 9: The Tortoise or the Hair

(Yes, I know the story is exactly about a “hare,” but cut a lady a small break, alright?)   🙂


I wonder at times if I spend too much time talking and writing about my hair journey. I pray constantly that it not become an idol. One of my sisters noted that, from her point of view, “Every time I look on Facebook, I see something about your hair!” Yet, the hair journal posts continue to be my most popular entries, drawing more searches than anything I write about homeschooling, family, or faith. Candidly, I’m not sure how to feel about that. More recently, another friend wrote me a letter saying that I’d been very quiet about my hair journey as of late. So I suppose I’ll stay with my monthly “chapter,” and pray that my thoughts will continue to bless and encourage readers. Sorry, sis.

Having said that, there are times when I look at ladies who are much farther down the natural hair path than I am, and I get envious.

There are times when I wash my hair, feel the newly-natural area toward the nape of my neck, and I love the softness, the curls, and the easy comb-through after I wash it.

There are times when I think, “I’m ready to be done with this transition thing. I should just BC and be done with it.

“BC” is an abbreviation common to any natural hair community; the actual term is big chop, or rather, the point at which you cut off the permed hair and essentially start over with an almost naked head of virgin hair. Dependent upon when you decide to cut and how much hair you are losing, “big” can be an understatement. Of course, if I stay with my current thinking, my big chop will actually be one final trim after a series of trims that gradually take off one inch or so at a time.

But I must admit that I get tired at times—tired of the line of demarcation that I spoke of in chapter 7 and the associated detangling at that place, tired of feeling the thin, permed hair at the ends, and more so, what that old hair now represents in terms of my own thinking about beauty and about self. I often think about all of my Bridges’ training on change management during my corporate days. One of the quickest ways to move into the new state of being, according to Bridges’ model, is to reward the new behavior and symbolically bury the old. If I follow suit, I would go ahead and get it over with: just cut off my permed hair and move forward. I have enough hair to do this now without resembling my husband’s college cut fade (smile).

So, I’ve been experimenting with various protective styles and paying special attention to the section of my hair that is now completely natural. For the 1st time, I tried a flat twist–WORLDS of curls here, making my hair look even shorter than it normally would.

I wanted an ultra-conservative look for my 1st night back teaching on a brick-and-mortar campus, so I wore a headband to tie up my curls.

I realized at this point that I am sooooo not ready for short hair. I’m simply not adjusting well to having no hair on my neck. Funny, I wore my hair on campus in this style for two weeks, allowing the curls to gradually loosen. By week two, I looked like former NBA star Ben Wallace.

One of my students, a hairstylist, came to me and said softly, “I do natural hair, too.” Of course, she could have meant this in a completely different way than I took it, but later I laughed out loud—a point of victory for me over what might have been a sensitive moment at another time in my life. I was looking like one hot mess and she had every right to let me know she could help; I’m definitely a work-in-process, and hopefully becoming a work-in-progress.

I could cut out the perm; as others would say, “It’s only hair.” I’m not so sure. For me, it’s also about a life mission and ministry. As my friend Keri Mae penned so eloquently when discussing her dilemma of whether or not to dye her gray(incidentally, this is her most popular post–ha ha!), hair is about perception and reception. And when your heart is to show Christ in shoe leather, you don’t dare take lightly any change that might hinder your opportunity to ‘let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven’  (Matthew 5:16).

So, when is the right time to complete the big chop? When I’m good and ready, but not right now.  My next trim would be in two weeks, but I’m going to slow down and see what my hair does between now and the year’s end.   Most importantly, I am going to stay slow and steady like the tortoise, and win my race.   Be blessed, my friends.


P.S. After seeing the back of my hair, the Belizean beauty Caula wrote, “Nice definition–have you cut it again?”   Oi.


7 thoughts on “My Natural Hair Journey, Chapter 9: The Tortoise or the Hair

  1. One step at a time and you will get there! I love how healthy the new hair is and it will be stunning when all said and done. Be patient and pray that the Lord will help others be blind to the hair issues.

    I am like your friend Kerimae but I stuck it out and I am getting pretty close to not having any coloured (British spelling) hair left. I am falling in love with my natural colour now. It is softer and not so harsh around my face. But it was the verse about our grey hair being our crown. I can’t remember it now but it’s there!. That helped my heart issue about turning grey.

    Keep your hair chapters I love reading them! [o=

    Blessings and ((HUGS))


  2. Oh me! Thanks for the laugh. I literally LOL’d when I saw the picture of Ben Wallace. I know you didn’t look like that! I guess I’m a little obsessed with the hair talk too. I was just thinking about all the fun we can have playing in our hair when you get here Tuesday.

    Seriously, I agree with you. Do it when you’re good and ready. It would have been hard for me too, if I had a choice with the big chop. You really do have to be comfortable with short hair because even though the hair is long, it appears very short.


  3. I find it all fascinating. You do have me thinking about what kind of natural products would work on the very fine and thin hair of my girls or the thick mess on my head. I decided years ago to let the gray come naturally. Since then I have had a friend or two think that I had highlighted or frosted some of my hair, but it is just the silver starting to shine through.

    Ya know, there are some really fun scarves and things to go over that headband for a whole new look during this transition 😉

    Take your time….no pressure to chop it off. The times that I chopped mine dramatically (to donate) I did regret it. I bawled. Hair is such a personal thing and we are rather attached to it, I think.


  4. I’m “braiding” my way back to natural! LOL! Conditioning and cleansing with a great product…but NOT going to do the BC and not yet ready to grow out without the braids! Pray my strength in the Lord! LOL! Happy Thanksgiving!


    • So proud of you, my friend–the “creamy crack” is hard to give up! I’ll pray for you, and you lift me up, too, sis!! At least we’ve got serious support from all the beautiful Homeschool BFFs!! Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family, too!


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