I have opened Pandora’s box here.
I am passionate about this topic because a woman our biggest marker for our self-identity is our hair.
I did not transition from a relaxer. I have no patience. I simply cut my hair. However, I was not ready to let the world see my hair so I braided. Prior to this my hair was cut once before when I was younger as punishment. It was the worst form of punishment because without my hair I was not a girl. It had been ingrained in me that the longer your hair is the more beautiful you were perceived.
I was not blessed with long hair. I had “problematic” hair. The hair that generates static when combed. My experiences with salons has scared me to date. Without knowing society was affirming their negativity on me. I heard all those snide remarks. I heard how my hair was a hustle to handle, how it was coarse. How we had to relax it so that it was easier to maintain.
When I cut my hair. It took me back. I had insecurities that I had to deal with. How would the shape of my head look like? What if I am mistaken for a boy? What if I was not considered desirable or beautiful anymore? Truth is I have never felt uglier than when I initially cut my hair. I embraced it for about 5 seconds before I regretted it. I had no positive interaction with natural hair or short hair ever. It did not help when the initial reactions were not positive. When someone laughed it reinforced my stance that I was not beautiful.
However, It got tiring.
The up keep of trying to be one person’s definition of beauty at the same time been someone else’s was not sustainable. There were mixed signals all round. If I wore wigs I would be told I am secretly self loathing. That I cannot embrace what God gave me. Truth is I could not because, right after that comment I wore my hair short and I was told I looked like a boy. What then should I do? Where do you want me to fall under? Why am I listening to you in the first place?
I stopped. My bad hair and I will have to live with each other and we did. After I stopped obsessing over my hair I cut it again. This time, I loved it for 10 seconds more than I did the first time. The second cut was more a symbol of accepting my identity is not linked to my hair. I am moving away from extensions to “get away from my hair” simply because I must deal with what I was given.
I am grateful that a former symbol of pain and discrimination (you know kinky hair is not professional nonsense) is now a symbol of pride and freedom. That is at least what the hair movement is to me.
until next time,