I Am Not My Hair…Or Am I?
Like most black girls and women, my hair has been through quite an adventure. I have received praise and compliments for having the “courage” to wear my hair as short as it is now. I was not, however, always this carefree with my hair. I lived for my monthly sew-ins during high school and the early part of college. After a botched “trim” I had my first big chop and I haven’t stopped cutting my hair since. My first serious haircut was shortly after losing my volleyball scholarship. It is assumed that women only cut their hair when they are going through something and I believe that is partially true. I didn’t know it then but when I think about that cut now, it was my way of starting over. I needed a new aspect of my life that was my choice and that I could be in control of. Needless to say, it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made and it has shaped me into the woman I am now. My hair has become part of my identity and an integral part of my self-care routine if you can believe it. So although I may not totally be my hair, it is essential to who I am now. Here’s why:
My Hair Made Me BOLD
I loved my short, relaxed pixie cut. I tried nearly every short hairstyle I could: curly, straight, wavy, and I even braided half of my hair and left the bottom half shaved. Different colors? Yep, did that too. Jet black, red, auburn, purple and blonde is next. The next thing I new, I was learning how to do my own hair, especially while I transitioned to natural hair. I taught myself how to twist, braid, and blow out my hair. I even went out one day with a full blown afro (I really miss that fro) and it is still my favorite style to date. Considering the fact that I was a super shy black girl who had a dependent relationship with her hair stylist and always played it safe, this was no easy feat.
My Hair Brings Me Peace
I did it all, I loved it all, and I couldn’t…stop…cutting…my hair. I’m addicted to the clippers! There is something particularly freeing about getting a haircut. For me, it’s almost like working out and leaving all the crap from the day before at the gym. When I get a haircut, I leave my fears, doubts, and stress with that hair on the floor. I instantly feel lighter. I can finally relax. I truly feel like a new person.
My Hair Helped Me Discover Myself
I can’t tell you guys how many times I’ve been asked if I plan to grow my hair out again. My ideal answer would be, yes, once I settle down and have kids, but deep down I know that’s not true. I like to believe that my hair (or lack thereof) isn’t a big part of me, but it is. The truth is, the shorter my hair gets, the more I come out of my shell. Longer hair allowed me to be comfortable in the background. It made me okay with being overlooked. That is simply not possible with hair as short as mine. It exposed me. It’s like being naked with clothes on. My hair has forced me to become more extroverted because it draws A LOT of attention. My hair has convinced me that I am indeed beautiful. I’ve been told all my life that I was beautiful but I never saw it behind the weaves and relaxers. Now I can see that my forehead is really not as big as I thought it was (LOL). I have incredible cheekbones and a perfectly crafted jaw line. I soon realized that I had every feature that all the other beautiful girls I envied had, I just needed to peel back the layers to see it.
Now, let me be clear, I am not anti-long hair, anti-weave, or anti-relaxer. I encourage every woman to do what she wants to do with her hair. You want to cut your hair? DO IT! There is no such thing as “not having the face” for a short cut or “not being pretty enough to pull it off”. I have seen women with very round faces SLAY a super short cut. You wear the haircut. The haircut doesn’t wear you. I have never seen a woman with a short cut that I thought it looked bad on, ever. Besides the physical effects of having short hair, I would argue that it does something magical to your confidence. Regardless, I want every woman to feel comfortable in her skin and not be afraid to step out of the box and try something new. You never know what you may discover.
The Life Therapist