The day was June 5, 2015. I can remember the day like it was yesterday. It was sunny outside. As I sat in the cushioned chair, I can recall my palms sweating profusely. And my stomach? My stomach felt as if there was a sign that read, “butterflies get in free before 10am – OPEN BAR.” I haven’t been this nervous since I confessed my undying love for my best friend as a teenager so many years ago. As my mind raced with uncertainty, I heard a voice in the distance slicing through my busy imagination.
“Are you sure you want to do this?”
I took a deep breath, “I’m sure.”
I closed my eyes and heard a loud buzzing sound penetrate the air around me. I immediately thought to myself, “Oh my GOD! What am I doing!?” But it was too late. Minutes later, I opened my eyes as I was being spun around to face the mirror.
I did it.
I really did it.
I CHOPPED OFF ALL OF MY HAIR!
Dramatic? I know. But that’s how it happened. And I don’t regret one minute of it! Chopping off my long curly hair, which at the time was twisted into 7 month old, shoulder length baby dread locs, was a huge life decision for me. I was always known as the girl with the afro. But to be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever felt so free since cutting my hair!
And while most of the responses from people around me were positive, I did get a few frowns, disapprovals, and head shakes. Some would say, “I like your hair better long.” Others said, “wow that’s…different.”
The most awkward remarks were, “excuse me sir!” It was as if gender was defined by hair length. It took me a while to get used to it. It took me a while before I was able to confidently correct someone for mistaking me for a man from behind. But I did!
I’ve come to realize that while many people define femininity by the length of a woman’s hair, it is so much more than that.
In fact, hair length has NOTHING to do with what makes me a woman.
I am NOT a man because I CHOOSE to wear my hair cut low. And I am NOT a girl because I am female.
I AM A WOMAN. A GROWN WOMAN.
And I choose to wear my hair cut low because I decide what I want to do with my body. And I LOVE every bit of who I am.
So I leave you with the words of songstress India Arie:
Does the way I wear my hair make me a better person?
Does the way I wear my hair make me a better friend? Oh
Does the way I wear my hair determine my integrity?
I am expressing my creativity!
(From song: I Am Not My Hair)