I've decided to shave off all of my hair—here's why
"It's just hair, right?"
How many hands would you need to count the amount of hair products in your bathroom? How many hours have you spent agonizing over a bad hair day? If you're anything like me, it's too many. In 2018, the hair care industry is estimated to be worth 87.73 billion US dollars! Despite all of this, the reason I've decided I'm going to shave my head is a little deeper than saving time and money (although the thought of shaving hours off of wash day is *definitely* appealing). I'm shaving my head for my own personal freedom.
Now you may be thinking that I sound a little insane. "You think shaving your head going to give you freedom?" "Isn't that a little drastic?" The answer is yes and yes. Everyone struggles with self esteem, and it's no secret that the beauty industry targets those insecurities to make money. Not every girl wears makeup, but the majority of girls and women are extremely attached to their hair. If you've ever seen the makeover episodes of America's Next Top Model you know what I mean. Models shed tears galore at the thought of having to change or cut their hair. As girls we're socialized to think that our hair is the key to our beauty, our femininity and our worth. And as a black woman, learning to love myself and my natural hair has been a long journey in itself, but I need to take it one step further.
I'm growing tired of not feeling beautiful unless my hair is *done* and my edges are *laid.* I'm over obsessing over how long my hair is getting and whether it's growing, feeling bad about myself when my hair doesn't match up to the beauty standards set up for us. I'm tired of only feeling the most beautiful when my hair is in long braids and can be swung around and adorned. Often I'd find myself changing my look in order to match my hair. When I wear my natural hair I feel as though I can't dress as tomboyish as I usually do for fear of not looking womanly enough. That is a problem. Hair for women and girls can be a tool for self expression, but it can also be a tool to hide. I don't want to hide anymore.
Don't be mistaken though, I have my fair share of doubts and hesitations. To be honest I'm scared out of my mind. Especially as it draws nearer to the time I've decided to do it—the first week of the new year. What if my head looks weird? What if my forehead is too big for this? What will people think of me? How will my significant other react, my parents? Will I be able to get a job? I thought all those thing, but then it dawned on me: I *have* to block out those thoughts. If I let them in, they can have as much of a hold on my life as my hair does.
Shaving my head is my way of facing fears head on. I have to look at myself in the mirror and love what I see, because no matter what I do with my hair I'll have this face for the rest of my life. And I have to trust that I am beautiful regardless of what's on my head. Besides, it's just hair right?