Bald-headed Black girl
A “bald-headed” black woman.
It is something that is often associated with African-American women who have short hair whether by choice or simply not caring for their hair. Being associated with that term is something that has always made me fearful.
I grew up with a ton of hair that was taken care of by my mother. It was an unwritten rule that I needed to look presentable. Even with that understanding, my father always said, “you are not coming with me anywhere with your hair not done.”
When I decided to big chop it was something that felt freeing at first, but then reality set in. I realized I had less than five inches of hair. I came home from my beloved hairstylist thinking, “damn I look good,” but most of the responses I received was, “Your hair is different…” No one really wants to hear that response when you just made the most dramatic change ever with your hair. I woke up the next morning bothered by those responses. I immediately began searching for braiding salons. As I traveled to the salon, I kept a hood on the entire time. I didn’t want anyone to see me in a state I considered to be “bald-headed.”
I decided to get Senegalese Twists. I sat through almost two hours of pain, just so that my image could be socially acceptable. After about two weeks, I couldn’t take the tension that the braids put on my scalp. I promptly unraveled every last braid. After the last braid, it hit me again, “My hair is still short.” I decided to go to a different salon, where I had my hair blown out and flat ironed. I felt pretty yet again. Pretty in something that wasn’t actually my natural hair texture. Then another two weeks went by. I realized at that point that I couldn’t afford to keep getting my hair done. I just decided to rock my natural hair.
I had mastered my routine of getting the perfect “wash and go,” which never seemed like a simple task. Three years have gone by and my hair has grown to quite the socially acceptable length. I now sit here with a pretty large puff.
I often have the thought of wanting to cut my hair back to its big chop state every time I have to detangle it for an hour. Deciding to have natural hair has made me more aware of why I should not try to achieve anything other than what I have naturally. I get told regularly by friends and family that I would look weird without it.
I’ve come to recognize as much as people crave change within their physical appearances, others are generally not as accepting if it isn’t something familiar to them. I’ve decided about a year into my journey that I simply do not care what others think.
As long as I like my brown, healthy, curly hair.