If I had a nickel for every time someone said;
Please don't cut your hair
Hair truly can be a woman's crown and glory but without substance, intelligence, integrity etc, a full head of hair is not going to change your life in a serious way..
Hair can be a great way to express yourself. Afro hair in particular is special because it is so volatile. There's so much you can do with a head of hair. I've seen weaves that have literally taken my breath away and I mean it. I've seen cornrow designs so intricate that I've pondered how the stylists didn't get confused half way around the person's head. I've seen relaxed hair so smooth and silky Pocahontas would hustle for tips. Great, but surely there's more to life.
Don't get me wrong, if my hair didn't matter to me I wouldn't take as much time as I do now to look after it. I definitely wouldn't have a blog. Part of the reason I started this blog was to keep myself motivated and to keep track of progress. I think part of the reason I do spend a lot of time treating my hair now is because I enjoy it so much. I like experimenting with different hair care products, tips and techniques. My issue is the way hair has become something so pivotal, particularly in the lives of black women, and those with textured hair. If you're spending big money each week at the salon and you don't have money to pay your rent there's a problem. Haven't handed in that essay, but you're at home styling your hair or making plans for your next salon trip? There's a problem.
We all know that looking good is good business but the black community in particular seems to have created its own culture and society where hair is everything. If your hair isn't long and silky you're not pretty. 'Nappy' hair is bad or ugly. You're unattractive if you rock your hair low. If you don't have Brazilian or Indian or Indian (or *insert about 20 other types here*) hair you can't look good. And we've got the two extremes. We have #TeamNatural (not all) almost implying that you're not black if you relax your hair, or you're trying to be white or conform to society's demands...NO some people just prefer it...and you got #TeamRelaxer (once again not all) saying natural hair is slave hair. Get educated people. Please.
I'm lucky in the sense that my mum has long hair, my grandma has long hair and so I guess I've never had to worry about length. Some people say that's why I can afford to have such a blasé attitude about my hair, act on impulse and cut it or whatever else. But the truth is, if you have healthy hair, you can do whatever you want with it. It will always grow back.
When people say stuff like "please don't cut your hair, it's beautiful" it doesn't make me feel better about myself or my image. I feel pressured. I feel like without my hair people are saying I can't be pretty. I can't be sexy. I can't be attractive. Why should I feel like if I lose my hair tomorrow, my life is over? That's not how it should be. So much emphasis is placed on hair now that girls feel like they have no identity other than their hair. There is more to an individual than the weave or style they're rocking. My hair will not save a life or pay my bills. It will not find me a husband or bring about a cure for AIDS. Only those with a clear lack of direction and sense of purpose exaggerate the importance of their hair. Most of us have hair and body hang ups and it's normal. But it is about working with what you got.
I'm not saying we should take looks for granted, or that hair doesn't matter. It's about knowing that it shouldn't be important enough to make you question your worth or validity as a person. It shouldn't be important enough for the comments of others to upset you or bring you down. It shouldn't be important enough to make you feel insecure or like you can't live without it. You could and would if push came to shove. There are chemo patients who do it all the time...
I haven't had the encouragement and support I would have liked since I made the decision to stop relaxing, but that's ok. I know why I'm doing it, I know what my aims are and I am happy. I understand that for some people long hair is just IT. What they don't seem to understand is that for the hair to get to certain lengths it has to GROW. If it was long before and can be long again. If you have healthy hair, no matter how short you cut it, it will grow. Simple. People who say their hair "doesn't grow" are either confused, or not looking after it. If you get hair on your legs, armpits and nether regions, you definitely get it on your head. Look after it and it will grow.
Black hair is a beautiful thing. Relaxed, natural, long, short, kinky, curly, wavy, straight, weaved, braided, blown out, it's all good...