I am not my hair: getting to know myself without hair

Hair journey

Hair is pretty powerful stuff.

The first thing people notice about others is appearance and for women, hair plays a significant role.

I have wanted to shave my head for the past 6 years. I never did because I was afraid of what people would think about it. I was afraid that I would no longer be considered ‘pretty.’ I was afraid that no one would want me.

As a biracial woman, hair has always been important in my life. I have experienced strangers coming up to me to tell me how much they wanted hair like mine and ask to touch it. I grew up, like most girls, with an understanding that hair was an important aspect of doing gender; of being a girl.

This mentality has stayed with me and those around me even in adulthood.

When I went home to visit my family and friends a couple of weeks ago, the first thing many of them said was that my hair looked like it had grown so much from the last time I cut it, which was supposed to be a compliment and that’s how I took it.

My hair was a huge part of my identity. I could be sexy and playful or serious and sophisticated. I could straighten it out or wear it curly. I could change how people saw me based on how I wore my hair.

So I got rid of it. What would become of me when I got rid of one of the very things I believed defined me?

I shaved my head as a way to start a new journey of self discovery, as a way to break away from traditional ideas of beauty and to learn the fundamental lesson that I am not my hair or any other physical characteristic that I think defines me.

And besides, it’s just hair.

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12 thoughts on “I am not my hair: getting to know myself without hair

  1. Bravo!!! Bravo bravo bravo.

    I have a massive Portuguese Jewfro (whatever that mix means), and once upon a time, in 2005, to be precise, I took a trip to Ecuador and I cut it all off. It wasn’t shaved, but it was three centimeters long.

    And then it grew three inches, and I blew it out, and it turned into a ball around my head, and I wrapped a scarf around it, and wore big earrings, and I danced and danced and it grew and grew.

    And then my friends called it a chia pet, and my wraps and my scarves got bigger, and my hair stuck out further in back.

    And now, eight years later, it is long, and it is huge, and I have more to throw back when I’m in a low dip on a dancing floor.

    But every summer, I think: what if I cut it all off?

    PLEASE post more about your hair.

    Sarah

    1. I literally laughed out loud reading this! I feel like my hair is entering the uncontrollable chia pet stage and I am trying to embrace it but honestly, all I want to do is shave it off again. I think the growing it back out process will be challenging because there is so much room for awkward bad hair days.

      1. Yes, those early days of growing it out were the most challenging. I am pro-natural as much as possible, but honestly, if I had understood how to straighten (flatiron; I’ve never done chemical), I probably would have used it more during some of the growing stages. Really hope you post more pictures and track its growth. šŸ™‚

  2. You are extremely brave! However, you look beautiful without your hair so either way you didn’t have anything to fear! šŸ™‚ This is a great time to have fun with makeup since it’s fully on display!

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