When I dare to be powerful…

June 12, 2013 — Leave a comment

I cut my hair. My waist length curly hair. I cut it all off.

Short.

I don’t know where this preoccupation with hair comes from but it’s been for eons and I really wish it’d stop. It’s hair – nothing more, nothing less. And yet women spend hours, years and lives thinking about it, paying for it, trying to change it, frying it and dying it.

There are whole forums dedicated to growing long hair, or curly hair, or black hair, or pastel colored hair.

When I first decided I was going to cut my hair, everyone told me not to do it.

“But your hair is so pretty,” everyone said. “It’s just going to be a trim, right?” or even, “Noooo!!!!”

I explained how it was too much to deal with, or how I didn’t have time because I have two daughters and I also do their hair and when Stari’s also there that may mean four heads of hair to do in one day. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

I tried to justify and explain my reasons for wanting my body to be, well, my body and for wanting to do with it as I please. I listened to people who tried to talk me out of it or told me I would regret it.  But I made my appointment anyway while insistently pinning pixie and short hair styles to my Pinterest, like this one:

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And then I began to worry. Everyday.

I mean, I wasn’t just cutting my hair. I was cutting my hair!

All off.

Boy short.

A little voice in my head wondered if I would still be pretty, or maybe rather if I would still feel pretty. Because, you know, “you’ll look like a boy” someone told me.

A boy?!!!! {Insert gasp here}

It was stressful and completely silly. I mean, it’s only hair. It’s hair on my head – not anyone else’s. There’s also this great thing about hair which is that it grows back. But, somehow I bet you knew that, didn’t you?

I listened to the nay-sayers. I listened to them until I doubted my own sense of style and felt like I was back in the 10th grade again when I made the decision to cut my hair boy short and someone really did tell me they thought I was a boy. I worried that no one would think I was pretty anymore. I even mentioned to A., almost embarassed, that I worried if I would still be pretty if I cut my hair.  He replied, “You’re always pretty.”

Hair can really be that deep. Especially for women of color.

When I arrived at Hair Play that Friday night for two seconds I considered not cutting my hair and then I snapped back into reality and realized that I don’t give a fuck what anyone thinks about how I should wear my hair. I’m beautiful because I’m me and there is no one quite like me.

Like India Irie sings, “I am not my hair.”

See, society tells women that we need to be like this or that. Too often we listen. We need boobs that are eternally perky magazines and movies tell us, so we fill our bodies with silicone as if that will fill up the spaces of our souls that are lacking.

“Blonds have more fun,” they tell us so we bleach our hair killing it. Women with curly, kinky, coily hair are told that our hair is “bad” and that we should burn, relax, and beat it into submission.

We should also all the thin. But not too thin because “real women have curves.”

Oh yes, and real women wear lipstick.

Nail polish, and heels.

The crazy thing is we listen!

Maybe for you it’s not hair. Maybe for you, you feel naked without make-up. Make you feel uncomfortable wearing flats. Maybe you’re struggling to loose weight, or feel weird because you have stretch marks or boobs that are too big or too small. I don’t know anyone who hasn’t felt that they somehow don’t fit into a mold that they were told they should.

We all have little insecurities and sometimes are not fully our authentic selves because we want to fit into this role or this ideal of what we should be.

The real truth is that all we need to be is ourselves and if we like the way we are inside and out that’s really all that matters.

So, I cut my hair.

I walked in with determination and sat down and told Fritz that I wanted to chop it all off. I showed him pictures of all the short styles I like. Beautiful women who people say are beautiful with short hair, like HalleBerry and Rihanna, and Emma Watson and Charlize Theron.

I left the salon feeling free, feeling like myself, and feeling beautiful.

It was empowering to chop it all of and to throw up a middle finger to everyone who says that we have to have long hair to be feminine or pretty. If we allow society to make decisions about something as petty as how we wear our hair, what other things do we allow to be taken from us?

It’s only when we are honest with ourselves and when we shut out the outside voices that tell us who and what we should be that we let our true selves shine.

We are supposed to be who we want to be. Who we choose to be.

And while this post may seem awfully dramatic, I mean it was only a haircut, that’s really what it can be like at times. The pressure to look or to be something that meets someone else’s ideal can be crushing.

But, as Audrey Lorde so eloquently put it, “If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive.”

So, I cut my hair and took a stand and reminded myself that what others think of me is none of my business, and as long as I’m happy and feel good that’s all that matters.

Have you ever made a huge change in your appearance? How did it feel?

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