Most common question so far... Why I cut my hair
The simplest answer is that I was fed up. Back in September I went through similar frustrations (i.e. difficulty with detangling) with my hair as I did the day before I cut it. I relaxed it then to make it more manageable and immediately regretted doing it. I intended to do a long term transition to natural hair and discovering that my hair did not like sulfates helped a lot but washing was still an hour long or more process. Not to mention drying. I air dried exclusively and my hair wouldn't dry completely overnight. I am sure that with some patience I could have found some solutions but with working out six days a week, being really busy, and having an irritated scalp and dry hair because I probably needed to wash it more often than once a week, I was at my limit. This particular week I washed my hair on Sunday (I put it off for a few days because I knew I wanted to go to Bikram), ended up going to Bikram and getting drenched in sweat on Tuesday and needed at least another rinse or co-wash (conditioner wash). As I pondered my options and the hour long detangling fiasco I might encounter, having little to no hair was waaaay more appealing.
Why I Big Chopped vs. cutting a little at a time
To me if I was gonna cut any, I might as well cut it all off. I think other people were way more attached to my hair than I was plus I was curious about what I would look like with short hair (I've never had a short cut). As I told one of my friends, "It's just hair!"
Why I cut it myself
I realized two things during the contemplation stage: 1) I am more likely to cry if a big deal was made out of the process eg. going to the hairdresser and having to answer to why I would cut off all my long non-damaged hair. 2) I might cry after the first cut but I was ready to deal with whatever the results were. So to save myself the drama I did the major cut myself and let someone else do the fine tuning. I also trimmed some more relaxed ends off after the barber cut and then a week later I went to a natural hair salon and cut it again.
On my birthday, I changed my Facebook profile pic to a picture I took the night before when I went out. There were a lot of compliments from friends and acquaintances. At school they also loved it. The only people who really didn't were some of my family members and one ex (his opinion don't count no mo', lol) but I kinda expected it. My cousin and sister-in-law both probably had minor heart attacks when they saw it. My sister-in-law promptly began searching for earrings to help me work the look and told me I should have provided warning before I came over, lol. One cousin was not amused... at all, another threatened to take me out of her wedding then informed me I would have to get a weave. Me ---> *blank stare*. Everyone else pretty much rolled with it. The chain of reactions is usually shock and mourning ("You cut your hair off! It was so long.") then questions ("Why?") then acceptance ("It looks good on you."). I am also pleasantly surprised at how many of my friends told me they were considering or were currently on their natural hair journey as well.