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How to rock your fro after the big chop

via GIPHY

Deciding whether or not to cut your afro is a difficult decision. Sometimes we may suffer from hair loss, we are transitioning from relaxed hair or maybe we just want to experiment with a new style. For college freshman Ouriah Paul, the big chop was an expression of her decision to redefine herself and feel beautiful from within. For over 10 years Paul has rocked dreads but she couldn’t escape the feeling that her hair was becoming a central part of her identity.

“I've had dreads for so long that whenever anybody would see me they would say, 'Oh hey dreadhead.' It didn't make any sense. I didn’t want that to be what defines me.” In a recent Instagram post, Ouriah revealed an emotional video clip of her dreads being cut.

 For most of us, our hair is our crown, but Paul discovered a true Queen does not define her beauty by what people can see. Rather, true beauty comes from within. Paul shared with us her hair journey and spilled some hidden gems for any girls who may be struggling to do the big chop.

What led you to cut your dreads? 
Ouriah: "I wanted to originally cut my hair two years ago. It wasn't because I hated my hair. I loved going through my hair journey and growing out my hair, but I was ready for a change."

 Did you feel a change within yourself after the big chop?                                                   

Ouriah: "Personally, I felt a major change because I never thought I would grow the courage to do something like that. I never knew what I looked like without the dreads because the dreads were all I knew. I felt a lot of different emotions after I cut it, but something I felt strongly was confidence. I love that I have enough courage to cut my hair and I love that I inspired some people to want to do the same thing who have been doubting themselves."

At the beginning of the video you are holding back tears, can you walk us through what you were feeling?
Ouriah: ''I was just really scared because I didn't know what I'd look like if I cut the hair. I had all sorts of questions going through my head, but I was honestly thinking 'If I want to do this, I can do it.'  I can easily re-grow it or I have options to reattach to the dreads. Those tears aren't tears of sadness it was more so of just having the courage to cut the hair.  I was saying goodbye, closing the door. You’re never going to be able to open that door again. You have only one shot so that was my way of saying goodbye to cry it out.''

How did the reality of your new hairstyle impact your identity?
Ouriah: "I feel more open. I feel fearless. I feel strong. I feel people just focus on me now because it’s not all about my hair now. I feel naked but beautiful. My dreads were pretty long and when you have long hair it blocks out your face. You know how people tell you when you have a ponytail, your true beauty shows more?  I feel more beautiful in a sense."

What advice do you have for other girls who are afraid to take a leap of faith and chop off their hair?
Ouriah: "Just do it because at the end of the day hair doesn't define you.  Your hair is something that always regrows and as a woman of color, you have a lot of options to experiment. I feel like whatever you do with your body and yourself you can't make it make you look good. You have to make it look good with your confidence."

How do you feel about your hair journey today?
Ouriah: "I still feel good. It still feels weird every now and then I will touch my head or shake it. It's different but I like it. I am very happy."

If you have been feeling insecure about getting the big chop, I hope Paul's journey has inspired you to embrace who you are at your core.

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by Samantha Dorisca | 8/1/2020
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