Sunday, April 4, 2010

Not So Hard To Say Goodbye to Hair


Before you ask, I don't have cancer. My hair didn't fall out. Nor do I have a problem growing any. Notice the before and after picture. Yeppers, I decided one day to cut all my hair. It didn't happen all at once. I’ve worn various hairstyles. Why the brushcut? There were a number of reasons but only a few are important to you my audience. 1. I was over having perm slathered on my head and frying my scalp. 2. The recession was kicking in and it was costly to visit the salon every week. You read it right, I was sitting in my Dominican stylist's chair weekly at $50 a pop including tip. 3. Compliments such as: "You have beautiful hair." was grating on my nerves like a baby crying in church. 4. Hair never defined me! 

I arrived at a point in life of finishing my Masters degree and was considering graduate school again. I wanted no needed life to be simple. I had previously worn my hair short while attending FSU. This decision was an old one. My son’s father’s frat brother was the go to barber at State. Big Rob was the man. I wanted that simplicity back immediately. I went into my bathroom one evening and took the scissors I kept in the medicine cabinet and cut all the perm off. NO I DO NOT HAVE UGLY PICTURES OF THAT DECISION, LOL! I had to wait before I could sit in the barber’s chair but when I did there was a transformation that occurred. It wasn’t so much that I looked totally different although many say I do. It was the emotional detachment from the stress of paying to maintain bouncing and behaving hair. A relief to know I could actually enjoy swimming at the pool or being splashed at the beach.

I came to the realization I wasn’t being true to Kerissa. I’d worn my hair in a natural state more than I did in a relaxed state. Even when I was a little girl with poufy ponytails that swelled during weather changes there was no desire to have straight long hair. I loved my kinky curls. Those spring coils that would make waves when just the right amount of baby hair cream was applied. My sister who is a salon owner would style me up with matching barrettes and ribbons. My cousins would braid it in various designs with beads jingling and clanking.

Life even allowed my mother and I to travel the road to naturally nappy together after perming and cutting and frying and spritzing and sleeping in headscarves. Those things are hideous and I don’t miss them one bit! One day we had a conversation about hair. We talked appreciating the outward traits that make us who we are, about conforming to other people’s images, grooming the inner being more than the outward man and being free of stereotypes that women without permed hair are unattractive.

Facts are my mother is envied for her wavy Diana Ross hair. Today people 
still walk up to her, touch it without permission and ask if it’s real. Well me, I’m a by-proudct of her and yes I could have the same long wavy thick head of hair but I choose less. I didn’t want to have a cabinet full of styling products. I’d worn twists, braids, coils, extensions even in the natural state. What I wanted was to get up and go. I have that now. It only takes my barber about 15 minutes, after which you can see my big beautiful eyes and long curvy lashes that weren’t noticeable when my hair was longer. Yes, I get crazy looks and stares. Yes, I get mucho compliments to cancel those silly moments out. Sad thing is the real me is observed, celebrated and appreciated more by non Blacks. There’s a billion plus reasons why this is. I won’t waste my time trying to figure out why. With the number of celebrities and even everyday women spending millions on hair, I’m content knowing that when I look in the mirror the reflection I see is a woman. A woman I’m elated & so very proud to see staring back at me! 

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