Wednesday, September 11, 2013

To Chop or Not to Chop - Tia

Gorgeous and Short!!
I've never been a hair person. I boil it down to laziness. I just never really cared enough to spend hours on my hair.

Growing up, I thought I had thick hair. My mother perpetually kept my hair braided or in plats. I never took the time to learn about my hair's texture or growth patterns or whatever. In junior high, I got a relaxer and a cute cut. But my hair just didn't want to hold the style. One of the older girls in youth group told me that I just need to curl my hair tighter with a hotter curling iron. Yeaaaahhhh....that didn't work. What I didn't know at the time was that my hair was just too fine for the cut I had and getting the relaxer didn't help the little bit of thickness I did have.

I swam in high school so I spent four years in braids. I did get a relaxer at the beginning of senior year. But again, I was lazy and it was too much work as I was prepping to try to get into a college pre-med program. So it was back to the braids I went.

Up until about 5 years ago, I'd either worn braids, two strand twists or weaves. And it's not because I don't like my hair or I don't have hair. I just don't want to be bothered by it. I started pressing my hair off and on (more on than off) about 5 years ago. I loved my pressed hair. It wasn't a sign of assimilation or not being proud of my roots. I just like my hair straight. It was easier. When my hair is pressed I only need 3 products: Design Essentials shampoo, It's a 10! Hair Mask Conditioner and It's a 10! Leave-In Conditioner. That's it. I don't have to grease/oil my scalp. I don't have to do anything...Unless I work out.

A good workout is the mortal enemy of a non-relaxed head's press. One good sweat and my hair reverts backs to its most comfortable non-straight state. So with a pressed head my choices are stretchy pants and fly hair or skinny jeans and "Girl, what happened to your press?"

At the moment I'm wearing Senegalese twists. I love them but my hair grows fastest when I leave it alone. I could never wear a sew-in longer than 5 weeks because my hair would grow right out of it. It's the same thing with the twists. A style that's supposed to last me a good 2 months at least is barely making it to 6 weeks.

I could never go natural. I'm too lazy for all of that. I applaud you if that's your journey. But it's not for me. I don't want to have to figure out how to stretch, coil, branch, whatever my hair. I don't want to have to become a chemist to figure out what variety of products to use to properly moisturizer my roots.  I know that when my hair is straight I can spray it with leave-in conditioner, blow it dry, flat iron it and I'm good to go for a week unless I work out. No additional work needed. And when it's twisted, I can spray in leave-in conditioner after a wash and I'm done. Easy-peasy.

Frankly, I'm tired and I'm over it. I'm tired of feeling like I have choose between my hair and my workouts and ultimately my health. I'm tired of feeling like I'm wasting my money getting my hair twisted or braided. I'm just tired.

For the last couple of weeks I've been thinking about cutting my hair off. I always said that when I turned 40 I was going to chop all of my hair off. While I'm still a few years away from the big 4-0, cutting my hair seems like the most logical thing to do. I wouldn't have to worry about ruining my amazing pressed style after an excruciating class of kickboxing. I wouldn't have to spend hundreds of dollars every couple of months getting my hair twisted just so I could work out consistently. And I could go back to swimming, which I love, and give my knees a break. (Side note: getting old BLOWS. I have recently had to let running, Insanity and few other things go so that I can do physical therapy on my knees. Ooooh, I hate getting old.)

The thing is...I'm terrified. My hair has gotten pretty long. And in my family hair is, "Your crowning glory." I remember my mother making me take my hair out of a ponytail so that she could show one of her friends how long my hair had gotten. Yeah, it was like that in my family. And the world around me would have me thinking that I'm less of a black woman if I don't have long hair (whether it's all growing out of my head is a moo point.) I've just grown so used to having hair of length one way or another that I'm afraid to do anything different. What if I cut it and I hate it? I'll have to deal with it being short until it grows out long enough for the Africans to snatch it up in some braids. What if...

I know some of you are thinking, "It's only hair..." But it's not. People have an emotional connection to their hair that's hard to explain. Why do you think girls cry when they get a really bad cut or style? Why do cancer patients and people with alopecia grieve so deeply when their hair comes out? It's not just hair for a lot of people. And I'm scared I may be one of them.

I don't know...I'm still thinking about it. And it will be at least another 6 weeks before I make a decision. I have to take new passport pictures. And it's more than likely that I'll be traveling with twists than with any other hair style for the next 10 years. So I still have some time to ponder. I'll keep you posted.

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