Monday, June 22, 2015

I can, no longer, whip my hair back and forth.

This is a post about hair.* It probably seems like a silly topic to write about, and I totally agree! BUT, at the same time, it's a real topic. I feel as though SO many of us (especially those of us who identify as women) are obsessed with our hair.

How many times have you gone into the salon for a simple trim, and prayed that your stylist wouldn't cut off more than 1/8 of an inch? And if you were going in to get an actual haircut, forget about it. You lost it. You didn't know who you were anymore.

I'm talking about this nonsense because it is nonsense, and we all know it's nonsense, but we still have this sick attachment to our hair.

Most of you probably know that I've had box braids for a while, and I love them. They're easy to maintain, protect my natural hair, and I don't have to worry about using any chemicals on it. Those of you who have known me for a longer time have probably seen the many styles that I've rocked (rock is an overstatement, I know): relaxed, short, red, with weave, in cornrows. However, I've never had my hair completely natural.

Flashback to a year or so ago when QUEEN LUPITA NYONG'O stepped onto the red carpet and slayed all of us in her path. Not only is she an incredible actress with a warm demeanor, homegirl can rock alllll of the short, natural hairstyles. She's an inspiration, ya'll. After seeing her for the first time in 12 Years a Slave (and all over social media shortly after), I toyed with the idea of cutting my hair the same way.

And yeah, I'm scared shitless. We can hide behind our hair. It's a confidence booster, a security blanket. (The same could be said about makeup. We know how a solid wing of eyeliner can make us feel.) Without that, we strip away the vanity, leaving vulnerability and insecurity. On top of that, depending on your particular hair texture, natural hair can be SUPER difficult to maintain, which is part of the reason why (I think) many black women manipulate their hair texture. Even if you don't have really coarse hair like mine, letting your kinks and curls out among a sea of straight-haired beauties isn't easy.


Why, though? Why are we so obsessed with our hair? For most of us, hair grows back. (I get that many people also lose their hair without the ability to grow it back, so I get the distress there.)

I read this article a while back that a couple of my [beautiful, short-haired] Facebook friends posted. It speaks to the fear that we have around cutting our hair, which stems from the media (and society's) beauty standard of long, flowy hair.

Long hair = pretty, desirable, attractive / short hair = manly, undesirable, unattractive.
But it's bullshit! We all know it.

It's so true, though. I'm scared as hell that I'll seem unattractive to guys (being a black girl leaves me self-conscious enough, trust). However, I also know damn well that I can be just as cute with short hair. I know that it'll be liberating. The ability to shed a layer of vanity that I've found myself clinging to for years will feel...good. Great, even. It'll be a new chapter of my life, along with the whole "I-just-graduated-college-and-going-straight-to-school-again-omg-wtf-help-me" thing I got goin' on.


So, I did it.** I made an appointment a few weeks ago at a black hair salon in Cambridge. Everyone there was super nice and helpful, and I'm not gonna lie, my heart dropped a bit when the clippers were going through my hair.

I honestly didn't know how I felt after I left the salon... it was just so different. I woke up the next morning briefly forgetting that I cut my hair, but after picking it out a bit and putting on some makeup, I was definitely feelin' myself (I'm feelin' myself, I'm feelin' my, feelin' my...). It's weird, but I really love it. I love the style of it, and I love how I'm slightly uncomfortable about the change. But it's a change! And change is good. At least this one is.

As for the whole attractiveness thing, I could not give even half of a shit about how guys will perceive me. Bc I be lookin' cute and stuff, and if they can't handle dis then w/e

But for real, I'm really happy with this decision, and I'm even happier that I didn't chicken out after all this time. Also, I apologize in advance to everyone who's going to be like, "YOUR HAIR!!!" when I see them, because I will, without a doubt, be awkward about it.

'Til next time,

* Written on June 15th, before I chopped this ish off.
** Written on June 22nd, a couple of days after I chopped that ish off.