Sometimes it’s a big change, other times it’s a little change, but it’s always an act of change, that brings us back to ourselves and makes us feel healthy again. Before I cut my hair I wasn’t healthy, I’m still not 100% but I’m getting there.
Before I got my hair cut I was too overwhelmed to do anything, even, and no I’m not joking, brushing my hair, was too much responsibility. It wasn’t that I’d regressed, it was that I was so tired, I couldn’t be arsed to brush my hair, which meant that I wasn’t showering, because when my hair is wet, I had to brush it, and that was a lot of work. Five pounds of wet hair is heavy and my arms already feel heavy, every day, like someone is holding on and refusing to let go, no matter how many times I beg. That’s how my arms feel.
So lifting them, in order to brush my hair, was not happening for a lot of weeks and it was just getting worse and worse I was feeling worse, for not taking care of myself, but cutting my hair changed the fucking game.
Cutting my hair was 1 small but kind of big change, and I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about it. Were people going to get what I was doing? Did they understand upon sight, that I had escaped gangsters and that I was still fighting for my freedom and life? Would they fucking care?!
Cutting my hair meant turning my back on the fashionable “this is how you’re supposed to look when you’re claimed and owned by men you can’t stand,” look I was supposed to carry, it meant saying goodbye to the kind of femininity that people were used to from me, and giving them something they hadn’t seen before, or at least in a while.
Almost immediately I felt militant. I took a photo on the same day I cut my hair, and my mom was, to say the least, shocked. Everyone was. a Black woman’s hair is her crown, right? I shaved my head bald and I walked about outside I didn’t care, and it felt amazing. For the first time in my life, I was free – again – from the idea that I had to look a certain way to be beautiful.
But other people cared – some people thought I was sick, and others wondered if I was crazy I got a lot of people saying “well, that’s a look,” yes it is, and it’s so much deeper than a look because we’re constantly told as women and girls, that we have to be everything and nothing all at once, in order to be beautiful. But what if we didn’t actually care what other people feel about our hair or our looks, what would that feel like?
It feels like being told that you have to grow your hair out and take care of ten pounds of hair your entire life is a lot of work and seemingly unfair when other girls of other cultures get to decide what they want to do with their hair. Our hair has to be perfect at all times.
When I was growing up everyone had commented on my hair, on my skin, on my nailbeds even, nothing about me and my body wasn’t fetishized by white women who claimed to want what I had, and more than once I’d heard “I’d kill for your….” um do you know how creepy that sounds to a child?
“Don’t forget the edges, don’t forget the edges, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD WILL SOMEONE THINK OF THE EDGES!“
Hair is such a part of our identity, and I have the freedom to cut mine so I did, and when I cut it I felt completely different. I wanted to shout from the rooftops, “I no longer need to be what you want me to be,” and “the control is now mine,” and I know why Brittney did it. I tried to shave my head a few years ago and the girl who was cutting my hair was both shocked and appalled and refused to do it, so she gave me a terrible haircut instead.
I call it Karma that her salon has. now closed – because hair stylists feel so much power over people and their hair, and this is something I’ve heard. a lot “you have so much hair,” well shave it then,” no no no that’s not necessary.” Yes, it is.
For years I’ve been explaining away the behavior of grown-ass men, publically too, talking about what we went through and how it all went down, but the one thing I haven’t been doing is focusing on my own health and well-being because I’ve been too busy explaining that abusers and pedophiles are everywhere across BC.
The Stress of it all has been killing me, literally and I haven’t been talking about that. I haven’t been because other than being tired, I haven’t really known how to convey all the things that come with fighting against a system like gang activity and feeling like you’re alone, but I know I’m not the first woman who shaved her head and decided life is much better without men in her world.
We’re conditioned to believe that girls with short hair are somehow brave(er) than their long-hair counterparts, and that’s absolutely true, we are braver because when we shave our heads, people assume often wrongly that we’re sick, instead of that we’re just looking for something new. I have a lot of health reasons for why I shaved my head, but you know what I can honestly say? Showering is a lot more fun now.
I don’t really have an army of women telling me that I am great, and so I have to remind myself, and you know I quite looking in the mirror and seeing my face, MY face, not the face of the girl I spent years trying to be, so that other people would keep their fucking hands to themselves.
The next stop is self-defense classes.