Disclaimer: I am sharing my own experience in this article. I am not bashing any hair types, or any hair textures. Each woman is entitled to do whatever they feel like with every inch of their body, and should not feel ashamed of doing so. However, my goal is to empower people who are scared to be themselves, who are scared of being judged. Been there, done that. People will have something to say no matter what you do. So Might as well do what makes you happy.
I remember my first relaxer as if it was done yesterday. It was a Friday, after school , a week before my first communion, and I was nine years old. My mom took me to her friend’s beauty salon and told me that I was getting a deep treatment. She wanted to surprise me, because since my best friend at the time had her hair relaxed, I would never stop asking her to do the same.
Moreover, it was a trend, and I felt cool, and grown. Most girls at my school had a relaxer. So guess what!!I wanted a relaxer too, so I could show off how long my hair was, so I could do ponytails and play with the ends, so I could take pictures with my hair covering half of my face. So you can imagine how excited and happy I was when I realized that was getting a perm like everybody else.
Then, it became a routine, I could not see my life without it. Every month and a half to two months, I would retouch my roots. My kinky roots were unmanageable to me, and to be honest I felt ugly with them.
In actuality, One of my biggest fear when I got to college was based on my hair. I did not know how I would do them, who would do them, where I would do them. I was scared of breakage because everybody know that if you don’t take care of your relaxed hair, you’ll lose them. And to be honest, at the time I always thought that my beauty lied in my hair. Having short hair was super unattractive to me, and cutting my hair was a nightmare.
Fast forwarding to the summer of my freshman year…
I went back to my country Haiti, feeling like a new person, an adult, and felt that I could do everything that I put my mind into. The world was at my feet. I was learning about myself, started to appreciate every inch of my body. I felt grown, confident.
So guess what I decided to do?! CUT ALL MY HAIR OFF! Yes you read right, cut all my hair into a pixie cut. The shortest that my hair has ever been. My sister hated it, my dad thought that I was going through some rough paths, other members of my family thought that I was crazy and that America got into me, my boyfriend at the time hated it and broke up with me ( but that’s another story though . However, I felt good, free, sexy, and my confidence level was at its maximum. I was reclaiming who I was, and rejecting all these beauty norms that society had placed upon women, upon Black Women to say the least.
That haircut was like a rite of passage to me. It was a way to tell everybody that I was taking charge now. I did not want to bind to society rules anymore, I wanted to create mine. Trust me, it was not a crisis, but it was a way for me to feel that I was not that little girl anymore.
Anyways, I was in love with that haircut. It made me realized that my hair was just an accessory to my overall beauty. I had so much more to offer, and this haircut opened the door to self discovery.
Then a year and a half through my pixie cut, I decided to become natural. ( I actually want to give a special shoutout to my friend Vicky for pushing me, and encouraging me through the process). At first, I wanted to slowly transitioned, because again, I could not see myself with a tiny afro.
However, everybody who had gone through the process or is going through it now, knows how annoying and frustrating it is to deal with two different textures. So, as you would guess, I decided to big chop. With no hesitation, took my scissors and started cutting those straight ends. Trust me, I had no idea of what I was doing, or even how I would look, but I was determined to start fresh.
And again, My whole family hated it, my dad thought that I was confused in my life, my boyfriend at the time hated it too and told me that I was not considerate of him. But little did I care. I was again reclaiming who I am. Rejecting again society’s rules about beauty, gender etc.. Each day was a learning experience. I was learning to appreciate what I despised for so long. I was learning to appreciate my true self. The raw, and unfiltered me. And only God knows how it felt good. My hair was like a plant. I was nurturing it, take care of it, say positive words to it. Every inch that I grew was a milestone.
In fact, my hair became a way to express myself. Through them, I was defining who I was, and who I wanted to become. Because of them, I learn to appreciate my own opinions, not other’s. Little did I care, when people thought that my pixie cut was provocative, my twa (teeny weeny afro) made me look like a tomboy. Little did I care when people would tell me that so and so had curlier hair than mine, longer hair than mine, or even questioned my decision of going natural, as if I was going through a phase . I DID NOT CARE. I was living for myself, and nothing people would say could hurt me .
Because once again, I am reclaiming who I am. I am on the journey of accepting, and loving who I am. And nobody in the whole world can tell me nothing. This is just the beginning.