after i got my hair cut off, the degree of anxiety that filled my mind and body when i thought about going to public places again completely opposed my reasoning for cutting it. when i made the decision to get it cut, i made it with the intention of setting myself free. free from what? free from my physical appearance being the only thing that makes me feel and look beautiful and free from feeling like the opinion of others surrounding my appearance holds more weight than my own.
oh, and free from this self imposed financial prison i lived in maintaining these different “looks”, but that’s a whole ‘nother story.
generally speaking, most people are not used to or comfortable with women having short hair (and by short hair i don’t mean shoulder length, i mean short short) and a few of my recent interactions serve as living proof of that.
it’s been exactly one week, four days, and several unavoidable “reveals to the world” since i got my hair cut, and i’ve noticed something… the way people justify MY decision for themselves through backhanded compliments. “oh, well you’ve got the head shape to be able to wear that cut.” “your hair is curly enough for you to be able to do that. girl, i could never." “you’ve got the face shape and your cute dimples, so it works for you.”
AS IF THE BEAUTY I POSSESS FROM WITHIN ISN’T ENOUGH. AS IF THE AMOUNT OF INNER WORK I COMMIT TO ON A DAILY BASIS DOESN'T RADIATE EXTERNALLY.
the “WOW! that cut looks great on you, because…” is what’s shocking to me. it’s almost as if people see me with barely any hair now, and feel the need to figure out why they think it looks nice and i blame 1. the generations before us, and 2. society + mass media.
women are taught from a very early age, in america especially, what society’s ideal feminine beauty standard is. it varies from culture to culture, but it typically looks like a lighter skinned woman with symmetrical facial features, slim in weight, average in height, with long, luxurious hair. i want to zoom in more on the “long, luxurious hair” part.
i am a black women and can only speak from my experience and reality as a black woman for obvious reasons: IT IS WHAT I LIVE. through the years, i have subconsciously made an attempt to have that standard be my reality. i have relaxed my hair until there were chemical burns on my scalp because i needed it to be “as straight as possible”. i have flat ironed my natural hair EVERY SINGLE DAY with the flat iron on 450 degrees because i felt i needed it to look like relaxed hair. i have spent a few thousand dollars on high quality weaves and products aiming for that long, luxurious hair.
all of that to find myself in psychological hell. so i cut my hair off as a non-verbal “FUCK THAT” because FUCK THAT. i cut my hair off to give women permission to do the same. i cut my hair off because if it wasn’t curly, or if my head wasn’t shaped like this, or if my facial features weren’t this way, i would still be beautiful. why? because none of that matters. i am beautiful because my heart is huge and full of love. i am beautiful because i treat people the way i want to be treated and that is with kindness, unconditional love and respect. i am beautiful because i aim for self-improvement every single day. all of that which is true for me, is true for you too.