My senior year of college, my mom told me I was “boring” and should do something exciting with my hair. At the time my hair was still chemically straightened on a regular basis and my flat iron was my best friend. My mom was right though, the most interesting thing I did to my hair was curl it. So I took a chance and got honey brown highlights. I was ecstatic. My hair was the longest it had ever been and I’d done something interesting with it. My mom must have sparked something in me, because during my winter break I chopped off my hair into a short bob. It happened suddenly during a Skype session with a friend. I felt exhilarated, but also relieved that I hadn’t butchered the cut.
None of that excitement was present when I decided to fully transition to my natural hair. I stopped chemically straightening my hair when I graduated college and jumped back and forth between straightening my hair and doing a twist out. One day, as I got ready to wash my hair, I felt my beautiful curly hair against the dead straight ends. I hated the stringy feeling of the straight her and wanted to get rid of it. I stared in the mirror, scissors held high, for what was probably 5 minutes before making the first cut. When it happened, I gasped (thinking about it now, it was really dramatic). I stared at my hair and realized that there was no going back now. When I’d finally cut most of my straight tresses, I stared at my features and cried. I cried because I didn’t feel beautiful anymore. I felt like a boy. I refused to leave my house the entire weekend, even just to go to the grocery store.
Reflecting back on that day, now that I have a full head of hair, it’s sad to think that I never realized how much of my worth I tied into my hair. My hair is still important to me now, but it’s more complex than that. It’s about choosing the right salon that won’t yank at my hair or give me heat damage or choosing the right products that won’t dry out my hair. It’s about keeping it healthy because I worked so hard to learn to love it.