The Great Race to Long Hair

Happy Sunday Readers,

 

You know that I have not forgotten about you and think of you guys every day. As you already know, I am a graduate student at Louisiana State University and all of the extra time that I did not have, has been taken by my studies. I am enjoying the work, though. I am learning a whole lot. I cannot wait to embark on my next journey of being a librarian and I feel the momentum rising under me, carrying me until that time.

For the past few months, I’ve worn short hair and I love it. I’ve come under scrutiny for my hair choice though, getting questions daily from friends, coworkers and other people asking when I’ll grow my hair long again because: “when it was long, it was so pretty” or “I like you better with long hair” and “didn’t you go natural to have long hair”? I had no idea that the topic of the length of my hair would bombard me with questions every day. I started to ponder on why were all of these natural girls so concerned with my hair choice. Initially–over 6 years ago–I decided to go natural because I was tired of my hair falling out. The natural progression in that journey was long hair. I grew my hair out for over 5 and a half years. I loved it. I hated it. I always loved short hair styles and faded cuts…flat tops and side parts. One of the things that I always wished that I did when I was transitioning was to actually see a barber and cut my hair into a style. I never did it…until now.

Before

Earlier I talked about how I am carrying a full-time load with work and school and my family and friends. I simply do not have any desire to grow my hair long. I love the lack of maintenance that you need to have short hair–except for getting hair cuts. I love the look of short hair. I see short hair as a way of being feminine without conforming to the stereotypes of femininity. I can be a beautiful woman with long hair or a buzz cut. I feel confident wearing both. I prefer the short hair.

Now…

I am still engaged in a lot of online forums where a lot of new naturals obsess with growing their hair long. A lot of people wonder why I am quiet in these forums. I choose not to speak anymore because my direction is different than theirs and I wish not to discourage them. The passion that I had for natural hair 6 years ago has burned dimly because I’ve been on my journey for almost 7 years. In retrospect, from then, until now, I always knew that I went natural not to have the longest and thickest hair, but to make a life choice that forced me to confront a stigmatized look for black women–natural tresses. I wanted to wear my hair the way that it grows out of my head. I wanted to stop depending on straight hair to define my beauty. I wanted to be a part of the evolving change of beauty standards mandated on not only women but especially black women. I wanted to simply be Kimba. I’m still doing that.

Moral of my story today is…

Going natural or continuing on your natural hair journey should be something that you want it to be. Wearing your hair in its natural state does not mean you have to run a race to have the longest hair. We should not keep trying to admire and uphold long hair standards to make those who cannot grow their hair long or do not wish to do so feel as if they are inadequate or wrong. Remember back to why you went natural…if you went natural because you wanted to represent yourself, remember that. Others are trying to represent themselves as well. Pressure from you to conform only makes their journey that much more difficult.

“Insist on yourself; never imitate. Your own gift you can present every moment with the cumulative force of a whole life’s cultivation; but of the adopted talent of another you have only an extemporaneous half possession. That which each can do best, none but his Maker can teach him.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance

 

 

Until Next Time,

What I’m Currently Listening To

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