I began my natural hair journey with a decision that I needed to simplify my life. My mother had been diagnosed with cancer a second time and I took several months off work over the course of a year to help care for her. She had loved me unconditionally my whole life, what else could I do? I wore my hair relaxed for most of my life and this would be the third time I’d stand in the mirror and do the big chop. Once again, my mom and I would have the same hairstyle. My mom wore her hair in a short natural when it grew back after her first chemotherapy caused her to lose her hair. Growing up, I was my mom’s mini-me. She enjoyed making us matching outfits and styling my hair like hers. I still remember when I was in second or third grade and having my teacher parade me from classroom to classroom because we happened to show up to school dressed alike in red corduroy gouchos with matching long red corduroy vests paired with white turtle necks. My bouffant styled hair was the icing on the cake as all of her teacher friends admired and praised our matching ensembles and hairstyles. I needed to give my all to help my mom and cutting off my relaxed hair for a more natural and easy lifestyle was a part of my plan. No longer was I willing to spend an hour or more a day on my hair. As my new growth flourished underneath my dry and damaged relaxed hair, I once again stood in the mirror and made a commitment cut which resulted in a quasi reverse mohawk. I couldn’t go back now, right? I had to go through with cutting all my hair off. Unlike the time I went to a beauty college to have my hair cut only to ask the budding stylist to stop cutting a quarter of the way into a trim much shorter than I requested. My Salt and Pepa-esque asymmetric hairstyle made the best of a bad haircut. I stood there and looked in the mirror for a while as thoughts flashed through my mind like lightening, appearing for a moment and then vanishing as if they’d never appeared, with only the charred feelings of potential regret to come remaining. I remembered the words of a dear friend, colleague and mentor who frowned and told me how my short natural hair made me look hard after a previous big chop. I remember thinking, your words say more about you than they do about me, but I can’t remember if I said it out loud in the surrealness of moment. I hope I did. It’s a shame that we have to decide between our natural hair and employment in the corporate world, but quite often we do. It was just me in the mirror with the clippers, guard attached so I didn’t do too much damage. I gathered my history, my thoughts and my courage and cut off my relaxed hair. I was left with about an inch or so of new growth that I did my best to style with little knowledge about my natural hair. I tried to make myself presentable as I readied myself for the unsolicited opinions yet to come. That was in the winter of 2012. My goal is to never relax my hair again. How did you begin your natural hair journey? What was the catalyst that made you decide to go natural? I’m interested to hear about how you made your personal decision to go natural.