My Hair Was My Identifier

Officially, it has been two years since I’ve decided to make one of the toughest and greatest choices in my life that has, to my surprise, opened my mind about who I was as an individual. A meaningful choice that I’ve been conflicted with ever since it first materialized as a simple thought. To simply come out and say it, I chopped all of my hair off my pretty little head.

 Now I know what you must think: Are you really serious? Just cutting some of your hair? Is that all? Well, yeah. I am very serious. There’s something that you must understand about me. My hair has been my identity for a very long time. That sounds rather weird, I know, but it really was my identity. When I began to realize that it came to that point, it was too late to save myself from the shock and dismay that flooded me from others, especially my mother, when my simple thought became a reality.

Since I’ve came out of my mother’s womb, I had a full head of hair. I’m talking about long, thick, curly hair; to the point of it just being ridiculously unmanageable. Honestly, it was a lot and that’s all, if anything, you chose to remember about me. Growing up, I was “that girl with the long ponytail.” That girl you would ask a million and one questions pertaining to what’s on top of my head rather than what’s inside of it. 

To give you a taste of what these absurd questions were: Is that your real hair? How do you have this much hair? Are you mixed with something because you can’t just be black? Can I touch it? And my all-time favorite, what are you? Countless individuals curious to know how could I, of all people, have this full head of hair that apparently has never been seen before on any other human being like myself.

I became my hair for so long that I started to believe that I was nothing more than just that: my hair. I really believed that if I didn’t have this full head of hair, I wouldn’t be “interesting” anymore and that I would cease to exist in anyone’s world except for mine. That became my mindset for years until I’ve decided I no longer wanted to be overshadowed by it. So those two years ago, I sat in a professional stranger’s chair and watched every snip of those glorious scissors gliding across my dome. 

My mom was there to bear witness of this courageous act that she deemed as absolutely insane and unnecessary at that time, but it was something I had to do. It was something I wanted to do as I thought it was for the greater good of my wellbeing. She cried, of course, as that was the only thing she could do. She presumed she had lost a part of me that was home to her.

Since that day I’ve become a bit unrestricted with how I choose to style my hair. I developed some type of fear that my femininity had been wiped away and I perceived myself as a little boy when I looked in the mirror, but I had a realization that long hair doesn’t necessarily equate femininity. Now, I’m sort of scissor-happy and confident to rock a pixie cut, a low fade or my curly afro.

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