I grew up wearing the same hairstyles most black/African/African-American girls wear. However, during my sophomore year of high school (winter 2012), I wanted to cut my hair. I was worried It wouldn't suit me, providing people with more reasons to make fun of me and as crazy as it may sound, I didn't want to lose anymore "friends" due to my poor looks. Long story short, I got the haircut, but my mom didn't approve and cut the rest of my hair off.
In that instant, all my worst fears were realized or so I thought. Nobody called me ugly. No one in school mistook me for a guy. Actually, the reception was quite positive. I can laugh looking back, but I still know the terror I felt that day. I was still dealing with insecurities so I grew my hair out into an afro.
Right before my junior year prom in 2014, I cut my afro off with about two inches of hair left, but again I grew it out. After my high school graduation, I never grew my hair out again, at least not all the hair on my head. It was at that moment I started to see hair as an accessory, another means to express my style like I do with jewelry or clothes or shoes.
I don't place my identity in hair anymore, realizing my beauty will never lie there. When girls come up to me expressing a desire to cut their hair, I tend to encourage them to do it. In this society where women are judged on their hair, there's a freedom that comes with taking that weight off your shoulders. That's what I've come to find out and that's what every girl that's ever gone short (temporarily or permanently) has said to me. I never want another girl to feel the fear I felt over something as minuscule as hair.
Recently, I went for grey hair. However, the grey color ended up hidden behind purple, blue, and green hues. I am upset only because it cost a pretty penny. Otherwise, I don't care. I'm not questioning my beauty or worth because of it. Occasionally, I do get ignorant people that really can't see I'm a woman or who like to tell me I would look better with more hair. I still deal with "subtle" disapproval from Nigerian elders. I just chuck it up to the devil trying to get his foot in the door of my life with insecurities, shrug it off, and move on.
I've also realized now that I prefer my natural hair color. It fits my personal style much better than grey. My short hair is low maintenance, effortless, simple, and unique: words I would use to describe my style as well. Fashion to me is comfort and confidence. So is my hairstyle.
Originally published on my personal blog at www.chistyles.blog