If you follow me on social media or YouTube, you’ll notice my hair is undergoing a transformation. Yesterday I washed my hair and noticed that my head felt heavy. It’s like the feel you’d get if you wore a heavy helmet. This is new to me. As my hair continues to grow in length and volume, I’m noticing subtle changes that I’ve never had to consider until now.
For most of my life, I’ve maintained either a bald or short head of hair. It’s easy to maintain. I own hair clippers that I used to trim my hair throughout years.
For the past three years I’ve abstained from cutting my hair.
Despite not cutting my hair, I noticed it doesn’t grow past a certain length. I’m unable to grow a traditional afro hair style.
Eventually I began experimenting with getting my hair professionally braided and twisted.
As interesting as it was to experiment with different hair styles, I honestly don’t like paying for it. Like I said before, I’m accustomed to cutting my own hair. So I thought it was important to learn how to style and maintain my own hair.
After doing a ton of research online, I learned the best practices necessary to maintaining a healthy head of hair. I’ve been twisting my hair since last December, and have been watching my hair grow little by little.
After years of living my life with a short head of hair, I’m enjoying the growth and wild development of the mess of hair I’m maintaining. I’m also enjoying the reactions from people I interact with on a day to day basis.
I’m becoming increasingly comfortable showing off my curls in public.
On occasion I’ll throw on a hat when I’m in a rush or too lazy to style it in the morning, but for the most part my wild curls are out and about, even at work.
I hope to normalize my appearance. For my whole life, I’ve been taught that natural curls and twists are inherently unprofessional. The same goes for braids, dreadlocks and afros. Styles that are naturally accommodating to someone whose hair texture is like mine. Instead we’re encouraged to keep our hair low. Women are encouraged to straighten their hair.
Of course, I’m not putting down those who choose to, I simply reject the notion that we have to adhere a rigid grooming standard.
I remember when I was a kid, watching an old sitcom called Living Single. There was an episode when the male lead faced a dilemma at work surrounding his hair, a Hair Razing Experience. Despite being a working professional, his hair is considered an unsuitable image for his employer. Sure, the show was being heavy-handed with it’s interpretation of workplace discrimination, but it’s not completely fantasy.
In recent years, I’ve read many stories of American schools sending kids home for having inappropriate hair styles.
My daughter wears her hair in braids. Is her hair inappropriate? In many ways I feel as if this form of thinking is meant to shame us into conformity.
My undergraduate studies was in social psychology. I understand how implicit bias impacts a society. It’s important that we identify how these biases impact our perspective and seek to overcome them. I shouldn’t have to cut my hair or shave if I’m seeking work or success.
My nappy hair is a part of who I am. I was born this way.