What did you do that for?! : Baldheaded Edition

Y’all

*pulls up chair*

This is the first of a three part series of FAQ’s that will deal with hair (or the lack thereof), teetotalism and deleting my facebook account.

So,

December 26th 2006 marked the day that I cut my hair off. I, me, moi (not the hairdresser or barber), cut my hair off. I went into my room, pulled my hair back into the tightest ponytail that I could manage just to make sure that my head wasn’t a funny shape and then SNIP SNIP!

When it was done, the longest section which was towards the front of my head, measured about an inch long. I cut it pretty short.

What did you do that for?!!!

Because I wanted to. Dazzit…that’s it.

I wanted to.

No, I wasn’t cutting off my permed ends, trying to get rid of a relaxer (my hair has never been permed). No, I didn’t have heat damage. No, I wasn’t auditioning for the Halle Berry Biography. I had no socially acceptable reason for cutting my hair. Was I stressed, was I depressed? People kept looking for an excuse for what I thought was a well-thought out, logical decision. My hair takes quite a long time to comb (time that I was most unwilling to dedicate to vanity), it’s hot in Trinidad and I just plain ole WANTED short hair!

I.just.wanted.short.hair.!.

And let me tell you…I looked goooood…I looked dam good. And I felt good too! It was the most confident I had ever been in my life up to that point. Mind you, it’s not only my mirror that confirmed that I was fly…people told me that I looked good, but in the same breath they would ask disapprovingly why I did it. As a result of my decision to cut MY hair, some people cried (I kid you not), others gave me the silent treatment, I got called ‘stupid’, ‘jackass’, ‘crazy’. What?! That’s it?! That’s all I have to do to be considered crazy…cut my hair of??? Ummm, ok. Pat your weave girl.

I’ll never forget, my first day back to school from the Christmas holidays, before I could even get to my class, one of my classmates greeted me at the top of the steps with loud, jeering laughter. She literally stood about three feet in front of me and laughed mockingly to my face! #shorthairisnotfortheweak

It was definitely a turning point in my maturity. I don’t want no beef BUT lemme just point out that some of the same people who rebuked me for cutting my hair off, supported my sister when she cut hers. Why? Because my sister had a socially acceptable excuse: she was cutting off her locks.

To conclude. I have a full head of hair which I love. Tomorrow, I may wake up and decide that Trinidad is too hot for me to be carrying around so much hair. I may cut off my tresses and you know what? You are going to be ok with my decision, for several reasons;

1. It’s not your hair

2. It’s not your body

3. It’s not that serious

Since that ‘drastic’ decision over 6 years ago, I’ve had aunts who TELL me never to cut my hair again. I think the fact that I didn’t ask their permission the first time is not an explicit enough clue that it is not their decision to make.

Let’s hear from Jada Pinkett Smith the actress and mother of two who took to Facebook to post an open letter to the critics of her daughter’s hair, and the end result was a beautifully eloquent letter liberating Willow  (Jada’s daughter) from her hair.

It read:

A letter to a friend…

This subject is old but I have never answered it in its entirety. And even with this post it will remain incomplete.

The question why I would LET Willow cut her hair. First the LET must be challenged. This is a world where women, girls are constantly reminded that they don’t belong to themselves; that their bodies are not their own, nor their power or self determination. I made a promise to endow my little girl with the power to always know that her body, spirit and her mind are HER domain. Willow cut her hair because her beauty, her value, her worth is not measured by the length of her hair. It’s also a statement that claims that even little girls have the RIGHT to own themselves and should not be a slave to even their mother’s deepest insecurities, hopes and desires. Even little girls should not be a slave to the preconceived ideas of what a culture believes a little girl should be.

More to come. Another day.

J

BOOM!

Asha's hair eats her face

If you are still pressed, will you come comb it for me?  (photo credit: Nicolas Rinaldo)

 

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12 thoughts on “What did you do that for?! : Baldheaded Edition

  1. Preach!!! In full agreement! Hair is just hair! When it’s cut, it grows right back.
    What’s funny though is that we cut our hair for the same reason. We just wanted something fresh, something new…short hair! But it’s seen differently because of the negative stigma attached to locs. Nobody will come out and admit that though.
    Do wha yuh want with yuh hair! Grow it. Cut it. Colour it. But most imporatntly- take care of it!
    Peace and Blessings yo!
    Darls

  2. Oh but I have a story on this.

    I went to a private, American missionary, pentecostal boarding school where they believed a woman’s crowning glory was her hair. So it was forbidden….FORBIDDEN in any way to cut your hair, yes, even split ends..no no no.. Now in Africa, and as African women, this messed with out heads big time for several reasons:

    1: Our hair grew differently, out hair care was far more complex, and for many of us, sustaining long hair was unaffordable, impossible (because some folks hair just didn’t grow well), and often just impractical (Botswana is HOT!)

    2: If you cut your hair, many girls believed they would fall out of favor with their church going peers, the church elders, and with God. That’s what we were led to believe

    We therefore were in perpetual fear of losing our hair, we did what we could to make sure it was long and glorious (relaxer). I remember when someone rebelled and actually cut their hair, they got kicked out of the choir, or they had to give up a leadership position, gossip gossip gossip, and constant ‘why sister did you do that?’… Basically, keeping long-er hair was linked with social acceptance and keeping with your peers too.

    Things in that church haven’t changed, but we have since moved on and claimed back our power to do what we want with our hair, realizing that if you do cut your hair, God won’t love you any less.

    I say go girl, do what you want with your hair! I personally admire anyone who can cut their hair, because to me its like saying ‘cuss the system, I look good’

    I personally haven’t yet, though I’ve romanced the idea, mainly because a) I’ve never had short hair, and I’m afraid of regretting it and b) I have an egg shaped head.

    • Hi Ndunge! I thought I had already responded to your comment! Wow, your comment is deep yo, I think Lucy has a similar story…I hope she posts it here *hint hint , wink wink*

      I’m inspired to do a blog post entitled ‘Mere Christianity’ which will address some of the issues that you brought up in your essay above.

      thanks for your comment!

      • *sigh* I’ll remember to keep my posts shorter though

        In the meantime I think your next blog should be entitled ‘My facebook Comeback: Who, What, and Why’ kwakwakwakwaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

        Got my popcorn ready, my hot ginger tea, my sweatpants, socks, and candy on the side….

        ready, steady….. shoot! tihihihihihihihihihiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii

  3. Yes, satisfied!
    Living in the fear of being judged when you deeply know that your choice is not a bad one is not a good thing. I’m pretty sure that secretly, people looked up to you, because you were strong enough not to be a sheep 😉
    However, yes I can come comb your hair for you 😛

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