A open letter to all those who have a opinion on mine.
1.any of the fine thread-like strands growing from the skin of humans, mammals, and some other animals.
It’s seems like today everyone is talking about hair. There is not a day that seems to go by without some sort of new trend being created whether its glitter parting or denim dyed hair.It is amazing how much hair can mean to someone. It is bigger than just the superficiality of looking good and what that does to your self-esteem. To some extent hair can really define a person, whether it is their femininity or as a symbol of a new start in their life.
I recently decided to cut my hair and now rock my short little afro (or tiny weeny afro as some like to say). I have never been super obsessed with my hair and would just casually chose what style I wanted, when I wanted it, depending on what I felt. But cutting my hair has introduced me to a new perspective and way of thinking that I didn’t realize had been installed in me from such a young age. Being afro Caribbean, hair is a huge part of our culture, and has played a big part in my life. It is moments like the bonding experience of a mother doing a daughter’s hair or the rite of passage when you learn how to correctly cornrow. Just caring for my afro textured 4c type afro could be a job in its self and lets not talk about the all the hours I have spent in the hair shop getting my braids installed. So believe me when I say I understand why hair is so important as well as the scope and depth of the attachment we can have to it, in particular how it can define our beauty.
Cutting my hair has taught me one thing. That people will always have an opinion on my hair, even though I never asked them to. For some strange reason when a black girl decides to cut her hair short it soon becomes a topic of everyone’s conversation. My hair is my choice and if you do not like them please I advise you take that up with your god because that is a message that I don’t not want to receive. You cannot place you narrow-minded conceptions about my hair onto to me so stop trying to. I am not on some sort of spiritual self-discovery journey because guess what I’ve been natural my whole life. Nor am I in a rebellious teenage stage trying to defy society norms. I just wanted short hair. The fact that you may see it as unkempt and unprofessional is irrelevant because I refuse to believe that my god given natural hair is anything less than perfect. I’ve had strangers try to touch my hair. Friends and family integrate me on why I would do such a terrible thing and have even had someone straight up look me in my eyes and tell me he doesn’t like it.
I’ve always described myself as confident and outgoing. I would say that I also have high self-esteem, and have been sure of who I am from a very young age. But I’m not inhuman. Certain comments, remark and stares do eventually get to you. You do start to worry about whether you look attractive enough, will people start to think you look like a boy. All of sudden you want to hide away and then proceed to wish that you never cut it in the first place. Words do mean things, and when you are a young black girl in a world where you are constantly told you are less than, those words carry an extra bite.
It is of no help that distinctly black hairstyles that have been part of our cultures for years are all of a sudden the hot new trends for celebrities and the runway. Bantu knots are now ‘Space Knots’, Cornrows are ‘boxer braids’ and everyone wants dreads. I understand that all this talk of culture appropriation is exhausting and useless to some of you. While I am not purposely trying to come off as the angry bitter black women here, there is no escaping that it is very real thing and part of why people of colour across the world struggle with self-love.
Why? Well what it simple does is tell people of colour that their features and cultural styles will always been viewed as prettier on someone who is white. And that damages the soul.
In reality I have much more important things to focus on than what people think of my hair and I should not be made to feel ugly or uncomfortable to let my hair stay in its natural state. So next time you want to comment on someone’s hair take a second to self-examine why you feel the need to say something (especially when they haven’t asked). Think about why you have these preconceived notions about short kinky hair. Why is my hair only beautiful when it’s straight or very loosely curled? Why does the length of my hair determine how feminine I am or not? And why can’t I just cut my and it simply just be a haircut rather than new life style change and journey.
Loving oneself isn’t hard, when you understand who and what ‘yourself’ is. It has nothing to do with the shape of your face, the size of your eyes, the length of your hair or the quality of your clothes. It’s so beyond all of those things and it’s what gives life to everything about you. Your own self is such a treasure. – Phylicia Rashad