So recently I did what was for me considered major chop on my tresses. It wasn’t for vanity purposes or to keep up with the latest trend in hairstyles. No, I wasn’t trying to look like this actress or that model. It wasn’t even truly by choice. Don’t get me wrong I’ve cut my hair before. I mean it’s only hair, right?
This is the thing, when I was growing up my hair was my grandmother’s pride and joy and I wasn’t allowed to perm much less cut it at all. My older cousin had to sneak me out of the house under a ruse and get me a perm when I was 14. When I came home you would have thought my cousin had taken me to get piercings or a tattoo. My grandmother didn’t scream yell or even punish me. She looked at my hair and began to weep. That’s right folks weep. I stood there thinking “OK, this woman has lost it. I’m going to foster care.” But she eventually recovered. Grounded me for what seemed like forever. Told my Aunt what my cousin had done which resulted in absolutely nothing because my entire family didn’t see the big deal in getting a perm. Yet every time a single strand of my hair broke off from that day forward is what because of “That Perm”. It was then that she told me I wasn’t allowed to do or make any other decisions regarding my hair until I was 18. So my internal countdown began. 4 more years. I had no idea what I was going to do yet but I was definitely going to be something.
Flash forward 4 years. Senior year picture day. My hair was jet black, extra thick and just there. I took my pictures and then had my best friend drop me off at the hair salon she went to. I had been working since I was 13, so money was not an issue. I chopped my hair off that same day. When I got home that afternoon, once again no yelling or screaming just weeping. Yet this time I was 18. So there was no discipline. It was my hair at last and I could finally do what I wanted. A week later I colored it. About a month after that I cut it even shorter.
This began the trend of my ever changing hairstyles and colors. My hair was never damaged or the worse for the wear. I always had a very good texture and thickness and I always made sure I kept it conditioned and well treated. So I could basically do whatever I wanted with no worries. This all seemed to change when I turned 30.
Suddenly my hair began to thin and shed significantly. I noticed it but chalked it up to age. I conditioned it more often and tried to lessen the color changes. I had stopped cutting it and the drastic style changes when I got married at 25 because my Hubby preferred my hair at a longer length and I enjoyed making him smile.
PAUSE – Some people may say why would you stop a pattern of what you do for your Hubby? This is not about control. I was always taught that in marriage there is give and take. A balance. That a wife is to submit to her husband in certain ways and the husband as well. It is biblical (Ephesians 5:22-23 NIV) and what I was always taught and believed. So, it is a choice I make as a wife to do something that I know my Hubby prefers. He in no way forces it upon me. He simply makes his preference known and I choose to prefer him.
The more I noticed the changes in my hair the more concerned I became. I’d always just taken my hair for granted because I’d always had it. Every time I’d chopped it off, cut it or whatever it came back. I never had to think about it. Yet now I felt somehow betrayed by it. Silly right? But I did. I had no idea how to even worry about damaged hair that wasn’t growing. So, I started searching and asking my friend who was a hairdresser. Then after we kept talking about it and trying to make the connection as to why it was suddenly acting so out of character (yes folks I’m talking about my hair as if it is a person) we realized I had started taking medications for my Thyroid as well as Migraine medications both of which had side effects that could impact hair loss. Ok so now we had a cause. Problem: I didn’t have a solution. Neither of the medications could be stopped. So what could I do?
So, for the first time ever I was faced with trying to maintain and keep my hair. I tried braids with hair extensions. Something I’d never had or even needed before. I’d had my own hair braided before but I never needed any extra hair added in because mine was always thick enough for it to be enough on its own. Once it was done I felt so awkward. Like the braids were wearing me instead of the other way around. Yet I knew if I felt awkward I would look awkward. So the Selfie photo session began. I went into my bedroom and took a bunch of pictures until I owned those braids. After about picture 50 I felt a lot better. So I kept the braids in and actually had them redone for about 2 months total. Yet the second time I took them out I notice my hair was so much thinner than when I put them in the first time I was scared to put them in again. I was beginning to panic. Yes, I never truly appreciated (for lack of a better word) my hair but I still liked having it. I’d always been taught a woman’s hair was her glory. So, I didn’t want to be loosing it. If I wanted to have short hair, I wanted it to be my choice. I had cut my hair short before, like Halle Berry short (I can’t find any pics from then), shaved with designs in back and all and I see nothing wrong with that. Don’t get me wrong. Yet, like I said I want it to be my choice. To feel like your body is betraying you is a helpless feeling and I didn’t like it. At this point I knew I needed to see a stylist who specialized in treating hair with damage and perhaps even damage from medications.
My Google and internet searching began. After a few days of trying to find different keywords to search by I came across a salon named Why Knot? Hair Salon. After viewing their Facebook Page I felt certain they were the salon that would be able to help me. I contacted them and was able to get an appointment. As I thought the stylist suggested that I cut my hair in order to allow it to grow in I because of all the thinning which had taken place. It was at a point when I made a ponytail it look more like a rat-tail.
The feelings I had leading up to the appointment were so weird and anxious. I went from the person who was so indifferent to her hair and felt it was disposable to wishing I had treasured it more (maybe not as much as my grandmother seemed to but more just the same). It was as if when I had it i thought nothing of it but when I felt like I was being pushed into cutting I was upset. I also wanted to still have length for my Hubby. I knew I didn’t want to go too short.
So, appointment day. I explain everything to the stylist. Trust me its best to tell them everything you want and don’t want so there are no misunderstandings. Tasha was very understanding and patient. She listened to me and discussed what we could do. She allowed me to specify how short I was comfortable with going and how I wanted the style to look. When she was done I was not only satisfied that it didn’t look thin anymore but that I still ended up with a stylish look.
It’s been about 3 months since I’ve cut it and I actually think I may keep it this length. It’s a bit easier to manage with my Kiddies and being active with them and I still have enough length to make a ponytail and my Hubby smile. After everything, I had to learn that hair IS only hair. It will grow back and if it doesn’t that is ok too. Whether it takes a bit longer is ok. If you have to change your style a bit to accommodate is ok as well. It’s still only hair. It’s not who you are. It’s just a decoration. You are you. It sounds really simple and basic but I honestly had to learn that. Embrace it and own it. Whatever you hairstyle may be…work it! Afterall, it’s only hair, right?!?!