With the coming of fall, which is my favorite season of the year by the way, I decided to grow out my fade and let my curls pop again. My main reason for chopping my hair off for the umpteenth time was because of hair loss associated with symptoms of Type One Diabetes. I had bald spots galore and my hair literally fell out in clumps. Rather than sulk over lost strands, I decided to embrace being without hair and I became even more confident with myself. It was a bold move to go completely bald, but I loved every minute of it. I learned to love myself for who I am and not my hair. Being a “Baldie” was fun and so much easier as far as maintenance is concerned. It has been so liberating and I felt the most confident with no hair at all. I have so much respect and love for those that for medical reasons do not have the option to just grow their back. I got a chance to walk in another woman’s shoes. I was able to get an understanding of how it feels to get those awkward looks and stares from people who have no idea what my hair journey was and to look them in the face with a smile. Now, I’m ready to take the plunge again and enter yet another hair growth journey.
So, for the past few weeks I have been dodging making my usual appointment to the beloved barber shop and opted to wear wigs to work and a hat or head wrap over the weekends. I’ll be honest with you and tell you that I did text my barber once to see if I could get a cut, BUT he was booked, so needless to say I did not get that haircut. I purchased my very first straight-haired wig to change things up to avoid going through that “awkward” stage, you know, that point when your hair just looks unwearable…when it’s growing in 100 different lengths and you look like who did it and ran away. Yea that stage.
When I debuted the new look, I received an overflow of comments with my “drastic” change of appearance, which was to be expected, but some of them kind of upset me. The way society and people in general are when it comes to the standards of women’s beauty is wrong on so many levels, especially as a woman of color. I actually had a male co-worker give me a compliment on the new wig and then follow up with stating that I no longer looked like I stuck my finger in a socket, referring to a curly wig I wore previously. The amount of anger and frustration I had when I received that comment was indescribable. As the days went on, I received more and more compliments from men and women alike on how good I looked and that they preferred me with long straight hair.
Don’t get me wrong, I love to receive the occasional compliment, but when I realized how much more acceptable my appearance was with straight hair, opposed to curly hair or none at all, it upset me. It’s sad to say that even now, when natural hair is becoming more accepted, there is still an underlying stigma of unacceptance for what naturally grows from our scalp. Some days I just wanted to rip the wig off and rock my one month of hair growth with no lining and thin edges. That awkward stage is no joke y’all lol. There were days when I would walk confidently with my picked out fro or voluminous twist out and get the side eye as if my hair was untamed or unkept. There were days of me being completely bald and I would be asked if I had some type of cancer or asked why I would cut off my beautiful hair. I’ve stated in previous blog posts that I am not my hair. My hair does not define who I am or what I believe. My hair does not define how I feel about myself. This natural hair journey is so much more than hair. It has taught me a lot about who I am, flaws and all and I’ve gained so much confidence in my own inner beauty that I refuse to allow others to determine what beauty looks like for me.
Regardless of what people think, I love to change up my hair and I’ll continue to do so. It’s fun and it allows me to express myself freely. I’ll definitely keep you updated on my growth journey as time goes on. What are your favorite protective styles or ways to promote growth? Have you experienced any type of backlash for your choice in hairstyles in the workplace or in general? Let me know what your thoughts are in the comments.