I Am Not My Hair…
or so I thought until I decided to go through with my big chop on Oct. 5th of this year. The decision came after months of deliberation on converting to a healthier lifestyle and no matter how you feel about the length of your hair, processing and adding weight through extenstions wear and tears and alters the nature of you scalp. Your scalp is an extension of your skin and if you wouldn’t lotion in perm, why would it be any good for your head? No matter how much we level beauty and hair length, many people have long hair that is unhealthy and would rather keep the length instead of amassing a healthier scalp.
On the day of my cut I had this riveting anxiety and it dawned on me that throughout every stage of my life I’ve never actually been bald, no matter the weave or extension I have always had a full head of thick hair. It was the fear of judgment and frustration of taming my dry, coarse hair that hindered me wearing it freely. With this realization that my hair was a cloak for insecurties it became my choice to chop it off. Though many people view this as my testament to a new fist toting, back to Africa avenger, it was really more about eliminating the superficial want to be pretty in the eyes of society.
Even if they will not admit it like most girls, I suffer from body image issues. I felt ugly with my kinky coils because I thought it was bad hair. I equated naps with the imagery of Blackamoors and being unprofessional. Because of assimilation rooted from slave days and what the media says is beautiful, it takes a lot to feel secure sometimes. As a Black girl with no curves, and a slender frame my own relative unknowingly demean my attractiveness to the opposite sex, everytime they tell me I need to eat or I look like a bag of bones. So of course I compensated for what I thought I lacked physically with the next best thing long, straight hair. Weave or not once I let go of that on came the uproar from the people who look just like me. So rocking my newly cut fro came with underhanded comments and insults. For the past month, you name it I’ve heard it all from “girls only cut off their hair when they lose love, are you crazy?” “why would you cut off all that hair and take away from your beauty” “Now that you’re natural even if you were cute you lose 1 beauty point… So if you were a 6 you’re a 5 now.”
Really people is hair that important? What people fail to realize is that me choosing to cut my hair is me no longer hiding secrets about who I am behind what I look like? Cutting my hair has not changed the essence of my goofy, passionate character and it sure as hell plays no part in my overall quality as a human being.
How dare any person think I’m ugly because I rock my natural hair when most men cannot even touch the hair of their significant other when it’s done? Or how many girls neglect taking care of their hair because they can garnish it with a weave. I love Madam C.J. Walker and her accomplishments but who perms their hair because they have to? If you can think about all the girls who perm their hair or who wear a weave? How many of them equate baldness or short hair with being ugly? How many of them have actually ever let you see the hair they were born with?
I will admit it took me a while to look in the mirror and see beauty in my haircut. That following Monday when it was time for me to reveal my chop to the world, I had an anxiety attack and I realized at that point, subconsciously, was a girl Lauryn Hill was referring to when she spat “It’s silly when girls sell their soul because it’s in/ Look at where you be in hair weaves like Europeans”. I had to come to the revelation India Arie testifies about on I Am Not My Hair. From losing edges to appreciating me for me.
One month in and this journey has been hard and everyday I face backlash from my own people. Because we want so hard to erase the traces of stereotype slavery has left on our people, not realizing we’re up keeping them within ourselves. I will also say chopping it off, converting to a natural hair regime of oils and such has proven fiscally responsible and healthy on my scalp. The hundreds of dollars I spent on weave application or hair salon visits now goes into my savings account. My hair has converted back to it’s natural curl pattern one, I never knew existed with all that chemical treatment. And quite frankly, MY hair is a lot easier to manage.
At the end of it all I’ve connected to a part of my psyche that needs to be worked on. I had the choice to cut my hair and be comfortable here when so many women use it as a form of vanity and lose it in unfortunate circumstances. All these outcomes mean more to me then what the brother who only adorns the physical beauty of a woman as important. So For anyone who hates my look or disagrees with my decisions you can kiss my kinks.
Hair grows back, life moves forward and I’m still Chrissy.