My grandmother used to always say to me, “All that hair. Don’t EVER cut it.” I always assumed she knew some secret – like maybe once you cut little-Black-girl-hair it doesn’t ever grow back (a thought that absolutely terrified me). But then I grew up and grew out my relaxer and realized that my hair grows pretty darn fast. So I began asking myself this: why is it such a travesty for a Black woman with long hair to cut it short?
I’ve worn my hair long my whole life, most recently like this:
Not surprisingly, this ‘do attracted much attention from strangers – like the middle-aged woman with the crazy eyes who attempted to stroke my hair while waiting in line for the bathroom – but also from Black/interracial women like me that I've known for years. In fact, I’ve had more wonderful conversations with Black girlfriends about the pros of natural hair than I can count. So I guess I was a bit taken off-guard by the cringes and outbursts from these friends when I announced I was cutting my hair short. Almost as if my haircut was a personal affront to Black women everywhere.
I always thought that wearing my hair natural provided me
with freedom from hot irons and burning chemicals. But actually, it bound me in
a different way by appointing me with a social responsibility that I neither
anticipated nor asked for: the local face of big, bold natural hair. Funny how
that works. But I think women – especially Black women – should afford each
other with the luxury of choice.
So now my hair’s short! Like, super duper short. And someday it’ll be long again. But here’s what’s true: how I wear it will always be my choice. And cutting it was one of the most exhilarating experiences of my life thus far… as is being able to wash and dry it in 5 minutes flat.
Before! All big hair, smiles, and excitement.
I decided to donate all my hair to Locks Of Love. I hope it makes someone happy.
Startin' to dig it.