The Big Chop

Every once in a while, I need to cut myself some slack.  I need to experience the excitement and uncertainty of stepping outside of my comfort zone.

I’ve finally gone and done it…. for the 3rd time!


“Why have you cut your hair?” is the question I’ve been asked the most in the last few days.  Well, to be honest, there are a number of reasons why I took the plunge.

Here’s the truth of the matter for you curious folks….

I’ve been wanting to cut my locks for a few years now.  They had grown down well past my waist and it was just time.   I’ve been wearing locks in one form or the other for close to 20 years, and I’d almost forgotten what it was like to have another hairstyle.  I first had very small traditional locks which I had created myself back in 1997, then my first set of 840 Sisterlocks back in 2001.  I kept those for about 3 years, cut them and then reinstalled Sisterlocks again in July 2005.  So this set of locks has been with me for 11 years – the longest I’ve ever gone without changing my hair.

Why had I not cut them before?  One reason was that my family prefers my hair to be long.  In fact, my son can’t even remember what I look like without hair past my shoulders!  So, because of this, and the fact that I felt no urgency to change my hair, I kept them.  Although I thought about going for the chop, I just never got around to doing it.

As I had been in this state of limbo for a while, I wasn’t really looking after my locks as much as I should have been.  I hadn’t been allocating the time needed to sit and retighten them, and on my days off I found I had lots of other ‘things’ to do that tended to take precedence over caring for my hair.  Often when I wanted to retighten them I’d be tired and that would always result in disaster.  Wearing locks is very easy but they do require a commitment to regular maintenance.

Another factor spurring on my decision was the physical changes my body was undergoing.  I was beginning to experience mild power surges from time to time (smile), my hair texture felt as if it were getting softer in places, I was beginning to sprout greys and I observed that there were a few places where my locks felt a bit thinner.  Now, as a loctitian I have seen many women walk the all-too-familiar path I was treading; I was getting older, my hormone levels were fluctuating, and after a particularly difficult event last year, combined with ongoing lack of sleep, I felt that the stress of it all had made my hair weaker.  All of these factors were like the straw that broke the camel’s back.  The desire to cut came first, then the other issues served as the perfect excuse to do what I was really wanting all along.

A few people have asked me if I miss my locks.  Well… yes and no.  When I accidentally run my hands over my head I still feel a pang of surprise that my locks are missing, but on the plus side, washing my hair now takes all of a leisurely 15 seconds!  I don’t worry about not wrapping them up in a loc soc at night, or rolling over in my sleep and pulling a lock out from the root, or using half a bottle of shampoo and conditioner to get that really clean feeling.

I’ve spoken to many black women about the concept of long hair over the years.  Many of them have expressed the desire to have long hair because they missed out on it when they were young, especially if they grew up in a society where other girls had long flowing hair.  Some got locks because they felt that they were going back to their roots and reconnecting with their culture and for some, the driving factor was about convenience.   Not everyone wants to have their locks down their back.  I often cut locks to nape- or shoulder-length for ladies who have no desire to have them ‘down to bra strap’.

As for me, I’ve worn my hair long, I’ve worn it short and I’ve worn it in-between – you name it, I’ve done it and got the t-shirt.  I don’t feel the need to wear my hair long, or feel as if I’m hiding behind my locks anymore.

The million-dollar question is… will I install a 4th set of microlocks?

I might.

I really don’t know at this point.  For now, I’m just enjoying the freedom of my bold boyish cut and my 15 seconds shampoo!

What do you think? 🙂


Carol xx