Black Hair in Society: Why Long Hair Isn't My Goal
I was going to cut it all off.
A couple of months ago I was standing in the mirror, staring at my hair; my hands were cramping, my arms were tired and I was on the verge of tears. Not because I didn’t love my hair – but because I’d went an entire week without detangling. Chile. You already know it was World War II all up in my roots, and my ends were not having it.
Thus ensued a 30 minute internal debate. Should I cut it? Nooooooo….but why not?? Would my head look funny? How would I style it? Did I really want to give up 4 years of hair growth? My hair was healthy now that it was natural – it would grow back. Right? Of course it would! But what would my boyfriend think? He always supports me, so why was I even questioning that? Would I ever have long hair again? And the final question - why did I care so much about my hair being long?
When I first decided to go natural, it was more of a health decision than it was anything else. I was bone-dead-tired of my hair being thin and dull and sad looking from my constant relaxers. I was SO tired of dealing with a burning scalp from the chemicals. And I was totally over my thinning edges and limp ends. Honey – that relaxer was not keeping me relaxed! I was stressed and very unhappy with the state of my hair. So, I decided to nix the chemicals and let it do what it do baby *Jamie Foxx voice*.
In the end, however, I was firmly happy with my decision and proceeded to follow every natural blog and natural hair YouTuber in my journey for LENGTH. To this day I still shed some thug tears for how much money I spent on products that did absolutely NOTHING for my hair. No longer was I concerned about health – I was concerned with how fast my hair was growing, what vitamins I should be taking to increase retention and the best protective styles.
Basically – I traded one issue for another. Length was now my goal, and I lost sight of how beautiful I was at every stage of my hair growth. Namely – my TWA. And there I stood, debating and worrying and wondering. For what?!
Here is what I realized at different stages in my life. Society tries to consistently define what is best FOR US. No thank you. Long hair isn’t what’s best for me. If I decide to grow it back out, I decide to grow it back out, but longer hair doesn’t make me more beautiful. It just makes my hair long. Whatever makes you feel beautiful and REAL is the best. Whatever makes you feel powerful, and confident and your true self, is what matters. Long, short, locs, bald – all lengths and styles are amazing.
Literally after 30 minutes of going back and forth with myself I decided to cut it – that night. I had my boyfriend (who is amazingly supportive of everything natural) cut it for me in a tapered style. I couldn’t be happier.
It was one of the best decisions I’ve made as a woman. When I decided to let go of a standard of beauty that didn’t work for my happiness, I became even more confident and sure of who I was. I create my definition of beauty.
I’m certain that I will be cutting my hair again – and soon.
I’m excited about winter hats (and not looking like a cone-head).
And I save a ton of money on hair upkeep. I found my Black Girl Fly.
Shannon Bennett is a brand strategist and graphic designer from St. Louis, MO. She currently resides in Chicago, IL where she dreams of summer days that are actually hot and consumes copious amounts of delicious fish tacos. By night (and some weekends) she is a wondering YouTuber, Blogger and DIY’er. Her blog and YouTube channel, Curly Deviants, features posts on natural hair, style, food and projects. Shannon is a lover of bacon, lazy Sundays, and adventures.