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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Winthrop chapter.

We’ve all heard of the “Big Chop” but for those who haven’t I’ll give a quick definition. The “Big chop” is when you take your transitioning hair and cut off all the chemically processed hair. The cut leaves the only 100% natural hair on the head. When I went through the process of cutting my hair I definitely went through some unexpected stages. I almost compare them to the stages of grief. 



When I was first thinking about cutting my hair my whole family looked at me like I was crazy. I had been getting relaxers since I was 10. My hair was always thin,straight and long when I was getting a relaxer instead of my natural thick and curly hair. Thin,straight and long that’s what I was known for, and now I wanted to cut it all off, to become in my grandma’s words “bald.” Cutting my hair wasn’t an immediate decision, there was a lot of back and forth between should I cut my hair or wait for it to grow out more so it won’t be as short when I cut it off. I was down for it, I’m like okay I’m ready to go cut it all off but my family members’ all said no. The one that hurt the most was my mom and my grandma saying no. 



When they told me they disapproved of my hair I was hurt, but then I got mad. I’m a grown woman, who can make my own decisions. I should pick if I want to cut all my hair off or not.  I got a tattoo, and they accepted. A tattoo is more permanent than a haircut. All I kept thinking about was it’s hair, it’ll grow back. Skin won’t grow over my tattoo. You would think they would say no to my tattoo instead of saying no to my haircut. I sat in my anger for weeks, until I came up with the best idea ever in my head. 



After two weeks of sitting in my anger, I brushed myself off and told myself that if I wanted this haircut I was going to get it by any means possible. The first person I needed to convince was my mom. You would think it was going to be hard, but really she was the easiest person to convince. Turns out the only reason she said no because she thought I was rushing into it. After I explained that this is what I want, I’ve wanted it for over a month, then she was on board. After my mom was on board, that was it. I didn’t think about my grandma’s opinion. As much as I care about her and honor her opinion, eventually I have to do what I need to do. I have to care about me and deal with the fact that if they don’t like it they don’t like it. 



a man sits on outdoor steps in a white hoodie with his hands behind his neck looking frustrated
hamedmehrnik | Pixabay

The shock of my decision didn’t hit me until a month or two after I cut my hair when I got back to school. I only had maybe an inch or two of hair, and it wasn’t curling the way I hoped it would. I was in a funk, I didn’t think I looked pretty at all. I was really self conscious, I didn’t think anyone would want me, it was a really dark time. I would spend nights crying over how short my hair was. When I tell people about how I felt, they like to say “Well you shouldn’t base how you feel about yourself from other people’s opinions.” What people didn’t understand is that somehow my self-confidence came from my long hair. If I didn’t have any earrings in, no one could tell because I had long hair, or if I had a pimple it was covered by my hair. When I didn’t have that anymore, I had to gain my self confidence back slowly. 




Accepting my hair for what it was didn’t happen quickly, it was a very very S  L  O  W process.  It took me about a year to really accept who I was with my short hair. There were good times where I loved the new hairstyle I tried or the first time I did my twist out correctly. There were bad times when I hated my hair because I tried something new and it turned out terrible. It took a lot of trial and error, hours spent watching YouTube Videos, and hours scrolling Pinterest looking for ideas. I gained self confidence I didn’t even know I could have.  Cutting my hair changed me for the better and I don’t regret my decision at all. 


Chyna Wallace

Winthrop '23

My name is Chyna Wallace and I am a senior at Winthrop University. I am a Mass Communications major with a broadcast concentration, with a plan to graduate in May 2023. I also have a passion for photography, film, and education which fits into my passion for journalism. I use my creative skills to thrive in my major, but also teach elementary school children in my free time.
Winthrop University is a small, liberal arts college in Rock Hill, SC.