When I first cut my hair, it wasn’t a fashion statement. It was solely because I had no other choice than to cut it completely off, so it would grow back evenly.
My hair was cut off during an attack by a man who claimed to love me and my sons. As he cut my hair off, he said some very hurtful things to me leaving a clear impression that his intentions were to make sure that I felt as UGLY as the haircut he was giving me; to ensure that no one else would want me.
I became very insecure after that incident; something that I had never experienced in all my life. Because of my own insecurities, I started feeling that people were treating me differently because of the length of my hair.
Afterwards, I had people telling me as a way of offering me comfort, "It's just hair, it'll grow back."
What the people that commented on my hair didn't realize was that it was more than just hair, it was ME. It had always been a part of me, a part of my identity.
More Than Just Hair, It Had Always Been A Part Of My Identity
I remember the first time I watched the Netflix original movie, “Nappily Ever After,” and how close to home that movie hit for me and the way I was feeling about my hair, especially the moment that she ended up in the cancer survivors’ meeting and told her truth and the woman responded, “If you continue to walk around like that of course you’ll be ignored. You gotta own it.”
My oldest son told me recently that he was tired of me having short hair since I’m not a tomboy nor a lesbian. While this was extremely hurtful coming from my own son, how could I fault him, especially when I felt the same exact way? After two years of letting it grow back I recut it myself when someone who didn’t know me suggested that I regrow it after browsing through my social media.
It wasn’t just their suggestion of what I should do with my hair, however. I had started to feel normal again, like I was getting back to “Asha,” realizing that I am still her, with short or long hair. I realized that it is my responsibility to overcome my thoughts of unworthiness regardless of the length of my hair and truly learn how to love myself the way I deserve to be loved.
Sadly, most of us have been conditioned that long hair equates to what makes one beautiful. We not only receive that message from magazines and TV commercials, we also receive it from our mothers and the people that we grew up around who were also fed these same beliefs
We learn early as children that we are a presentation of our mothers and are praised for not only being dressed cute, but also having a pretty long hair-do to go along with our outfit as well.
Shoot, even if a child’s hair is short her parents add extensions to it to make it longer. I’ve seen little girls as young as two years old with hair extensions.
I don’t think all women believe this conditioning, however, since you have some women that choose to wear their hair short, some that choose to straighten their hair, and others that choose to wear their natural hair.
But according to an article written in 2017, at any given time, 50 percent of black women are hiding their real hair with fake hair.
Now this is not a white or black issue, this just goes back to one’s conditioning as a young girl especially since in another article that was written more recently, it indicated that hair extension prices range from $100 to $3,000 depending on if you buy clip-in extensions to put in your own hair or get high-quality semi-permanent extensions professionally glued-in at a salon.
If we are not connected to our hair why do so many of us go out of our way to make it seem like we have longer hair?
This to me just proves the way that I felt was valid because although so many people tried to assure me that I was not my hair, our hair is an expression of who we are and how we feel about ourselves since we have been groomed to think this way since adolescence. And when that decision of how to wear our hair is taken from us, it inflicts some deep-rooted stuff within us because our control has been taken away from us.
For the last few years, I’ve gone back and forth about what I wanted to do with my hair. Do I keep it short? Do I grow it back? Do I wear weaves? Is the decision my decision or society’s decision? So much so that after someone who never knew me with long hair commented that I should grow my hair back after going through my Facebook pictures, I cut it off again, because how dare she?
I’ve come to the realization that while we are not our hair, the way that we wear our hair is partly influenced by the way that society has deemed acceptable for us to do so.
But I would like to encourage you to detach your self-worth from your hair because regardless of how you decide to wear it you are beautiful and the world reacts to how you feel about yourself, so take the time to figure it out for you and only you.
My goal is to spend as much time offline as humanly possible. I have two little guys that demand my attention outside of work and am aware that you have little ones that are just as demanding as mine are. If we're not connected on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or Twitter, be sure to find me there. I'm always down to connect and answer any questions, feel free to reach out to me and my team at email@example.com!
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Hi! I'm Asha.
Born and raised in South Carolina, I’m a country girl who’s passionate about making a difference in the world. I’m an obsessive learner who spends time reading, creating, and selling online educational programs for mothers.