As a woman, our hair becomes a part of us, our identity. Whether we wear it short, long, big, etc. For some of us, the longer we let it grow, the more it hurts us when we let it go. I’ve never had really long hair. I just don’t think my hair grows like that, let’s be honest here. I like shorter hair though. Well, let’s say some time ago I liked it short enough to do two-strand twists, and all of that. Something like this.
Before I moved to New York, my hair was short. Not fade short, and still enough for your usual natural hair styles. When I got here though, I decided to fall into the trap of the Youtube experience. You know, when you go on to watch one video and before you know it you’re three hours into the latest Donell Jones song that you didn’t know existed. Yeah, that. Anyway, I learned how to do box braids and that’s what I wore throughout the Fall (I believe). The second summer I was here, I wore those braids faithfully, in the beginning.
Then I said hm, I’ll get a trim and go from there. I went to this place and paid so much money, and didn’t like it. I’ve noticed that now salons don’t include a shampoo with services and want you to “come washed”. What kind of foolishness IS this?! Ugh…so annoying. Then, in Brooklyn, I find that it’s SO expensive to get natural hair done. No matter how short, long, thick or thin your hair is. *sigh* So, I left the shop and also realized that my hair was breaking. Yeah. Then one day, I went to get my hair done in some kind of twists. There are so many names for them now, but they were basically shorter, chunkier senegalese twists. That lasted two weeks because I didn’t soak the hair before getting it done so it itched SO MUCH.
I’m not sure in which order this all happened, but it was the course of a few months, during the summer. The beginning of August, I braided my hair again for my family reunion and when I got back, I decided to make an appointment with a place in Brooklyn. I wanted a nice trim, tapered cut. I left with a VERY short cut. I don’t think I’ve had my hair that short since I came out of the womb. It took me SO long to get used to this hair (or lack of). Luckily, two friends of mine were up for dancing that night so I put on a bodycon dress and went dancing. I felt better for the night, until I came home to my (barely there) hair.
Oh, and I also had a date two days later with a guy who had only seen me with my braids and with my natural hair (that wasn’t this short). Needless to say, I was nervous. I thought about canceling, but I said to myself that I couldn’t hide forever. Long story short, after the date, I kept telling my friends that I got “Insecure’d”. You know, the episode of Insecure where Issa meets up with that guy at the day party and he asks her if she ever changes her hair back? That’s how I felt. lol.
I felt terrible. I felt like I did everything to tell him that my hair wouldn’t be the same, INCLUDING telling him that I had cut my hair. Might I add, I called a friend crying because I couldn’t believe this guy was acting like this because of a hair change. She convinced me that he was just an emotional basket case (her words). At some point, I’m going to write a book and give you guys the full story of all of my stories. Anyway, who knows. Maybe it wasn’t about the hair, maybe it was. I’ll never know. The moral of the story is, if you aren’t confident, it will show.
Since then, I’ve cut my hair shorter and shorter. I’m not quite sure why. I want to say it’s something deep like, “Each time I feel insecure about myself, I’m going to cut my hair because it’s something I hide behind and I don’t want to hide anymore.” Honestly though, I’m not sure I’m that deep. Well, not about this. I will say though, that I feel a sense of freedom. I’ve been judged by people close to me about my choice and that makes me even more confident with it. They are safe (I still love them!), but I don’t want to be safe. Well, at least not right now.
I am not my hair,
I am not this skin,
I am not your expectations, no.
India.Arie – I Am Not My Hair