I’m a college student. Meaning I have a new found independence, self discovery, the whole nine yards. It was only in October did I decide to wear my hair naturally and there were some moments where I had a hard time feeling beautiful.
Now the factor that we as woman equate our hair for with our beauty is interesting to me.
The fact that their is so much tied into a woman’s hair. (both male or female). Whether consciously or subconsciously. It holds meaning.
Some people dare to say: “It’s just hair!”
I can’t disagree. It is.
It is dead protein and water emulating from our scalp to create a covering of our head. However we style it, shape it, cut it, let it grow, dye it and cut it again.
Eh, It really just boils down to how our society and culture views hair. And it’s been predetermined from our birth to it anything take care of it and make it look presentable.
Now the standard of presentable….?
Let me save that one for later.
I’m discussing the way women view hair.
A lot of African American woman with chemically relaxed hair undergo what is called “The Big Chop” or a “BC.” Where all their relaxed hair is chopped off and start growing out their natural curls and coils.
I remember the time period before I decided to wear my hair naturally. I ran across an article, not sure where but it was discussing the first steps I’m deciding to wear your hair out naturally.
And one step in bold print that I found shocking was:
Seek a therapist.
My eyes scurried into the description because I wanted to understand why the author would think we ladies need to sit on a chair and have someone ask “How we feel?”
(This isn’t a knock on going to therapy, lord knows I need it and I truly think it heals and frees the mind when needed)
I was just taken a back to the fact that, something as far as my hair being chopped off, would need some psychoanalysis.
But my ignorance was cured as I kept reading. It hit me, that going from one state and plunging into another, without any slow transition, would psychologically effect anyone.
From being able to see to being completely blind for life because of an accident.
Having a missing a limb due to a disease, an accident.
All these require a state of mental toughness to conquer the new fate of life people are entering. Even yes, your hair.
Most African American ladies go from a state of either having satisfactory hair or just love hair some length to going completely bald and that is frightening and takes a lot of strength to feel the same way you once did.
But I’m gonna dig a little deeper than that.
Because I did not have a big chop.
I lost a lot of length of my hair due to heat damage. Constant heat. No protecting of my naturally fragile strands. No wonder they’d come right out.
And as I started wearing my hair more and more naturally, I hated my short hair. I grew frustrated and it’s constant shortness, knowing at some point in my life, I DID have longer hair.
And convincing myself, that with longer hair Id be prettier.
Or even go so far and say men, don’t find woman with short hair beautiful or sexy.
And another stage is this is where all the insecurity and frustration condenses and all chokes up to:
The need to feel attractive.
And I agree that I felt the pull to compensate subtly. I wanted BIGGER EARRINGS for heaven’s sake. I wanted to enforce more make up on my face.
The feelings of not feeling myself were laid in the way my hair looked to me.
Not to anyone else.
And I did NOT have a big chop.
It makes me wonder how many woman whether or not they’re African American and undergoing a ‘returning to their natural’ look movement
Define themselves with their hair.
My natural hair journey has dugg up and rudely sifted out the definition of what and where beauty comes from.
And oh. I know we say it all the time:
“Beauty comes from within and….de blegh blah blah.”
But how many of is actually execute all that?
It made me strongly want to cut off all my hair at one point.
To see if I could start from the ground up.
My point is: are you attractive.? Do you firmly believe that your beauty comes from within you? And nothing else?
Not even your hair….?
Not even your body
Or your eyes
Or you lips
Or you behind.
Do you show the world the Beauty of You or do you compensate towards the standard of what should be You?