I never would have admitted what I am telling you now, when I had my hair. I most definitely tried to hide the fact that I loved it.
My whole life I struggled with my hair; being born a mixed child, I had very thick, frizzy, and unmanageable hair. All during high school I kept it flat ironed and I dreaded bad hair days that forced me to wear my hair up.
I never would have admitted to you, when I had my hair, that I was self conscious. I was uncomfortable showing my ears, which are small and slightly malformed because of the facial syndrome I was born with – when I was young, I spoke at one of our annual retreats for my syndrome (Treacher Collins) and I told people to embrace their differences and wear their hair up and show their ears! But, I couldn’t even do it myself.
When I say that I was obsessed with my hair, it is important to clarify that into simpler terms. I was obsessed in the sense that I felt my hair was a part of my identity, and even worse, I let it be a part of my identity. What is insane to me now is that I didn’t even realize that I made my hair part of me. To me, taking my hair away was essentially taking me away.
People would come up to me at my job just to tell me how much they loved my beautiful, long hair. They would ask me what products I used, and how I was able to grow it so long. Guys that I dated would make it a point to share that my hair made me so attractive. I started unconsciously believing that guys would only be into me if I had pretty, long hair. My hair made me vain in certain ways because I put so much value into it. It made me feel important and relevant.
My hair was severely damaged and always splitting because of how much, how often, and how long I applied heat to it. At some point, after I was out of school and working full-time, I started to embrace my natural hair – wavy and full. I stopped applying heat and started embracing a full-on natural hair care routine. This brought on a new set of problems as my new routine tried bringing nutrients back to my hair but it was too late. It was just too damaged.
I felt a weight by carrying it around everywhere that I went. It was so heavy that I would get migraines all the time, which I would treat with 600-800mg of ibuprofen. I literally had to take pills because of the pain my hair caused me, looking back now, that is just absurd to me. I had so much pride in my hair that I would have rather taken pills than to cut it.
Most of the time when I got my migraines, I would get them when I washed my hair, towel dried and twisted it into a tight bun. The bun was wrapped around several times tightly making it impossible to dry it all the way through. I would take it down after an 8-hour shift and it would still have areas that were wet.
It was always tangled in some way, which made it impossible to brush. The strands were almost loose beginnings of dreads, but not quite as near.
I loved having long, thick hair, but it also was just so much that I lost single hair strands and they would end up everywhere. They would stick to my body in the shower, therefore it was hard to dry off and apply lotion. It would be threaded through clothing from washing & drying. I seriously don’t know how it happened, but I guess the ends of the hair strands were so brittle that they could and obviously did become needle & thread and would thread a freaking knot into my clothing.
My hair could be found all on the bathroom floor & counters. It was just everywhere. It was a pain to clean up. A pain to manage and I spent so much money on hair. Not as much as other girls who get several hair treatments a year. I would only go to get mine trimmed/cut once a year, maybe. It wasn’t until two and a half years before I shaved it that I had started playing around with purple and color dying. Several times my hair turned into pink or red, or an ugly brown/orange combination from the color fading. Coloring damaged my hair so much.
I spent so much on hair product and accessories; hair bands, bobby pins, hair dye, brush/comb, and salon visits. It is crazy what all we do to and for our hair. Getting knots out was just the worse. I would have to tear out the knots. A heavy weight was definitely lifted off of me once I no longer had it.
I was scared at first, but I was also so ready once I had the opinion/approval from the people that mattered, not that I needed their approval, but it was still nice to have the support. I did not even realize or know why but I was standing in my own way. I was scared to take away my security blanket, my armor and shield.
I went bald because I was finally able to free myself of such a physical burden and an emotional one too. It was not an easy decision to come to, and I don’t think that it should be an easy one. I had been with my hair practically my entire life, and I was about to walk into a world of the unknown, one where I didn’t have it anymore. I am glad that I took a few weeks to think about it, because I never would’ve wanted to regret this decision.
I had started researching girls with bald heads and I came across these beautiful figures with the most perfect shaped head – and of course I thought to myself that I could never look as good as them with a bald head. What a silly thing to worry about in the scheme of things. It’s funny to me now, because people say to me all the time that they could never pull off the bald head like I do, but they don’t even know that was my exact worry. For what it is worth, I guarantee anyone can pull off a bald head.
Have you ever shaved your head? Would you?