I could walk into the room and command the attention of everyone. At 5’11 my height alone would force some of the most aesthetically perfect women to clutch their men’s arms a bit tighter and longer forcing their men to suddenly have the need to check their time pieces lending me casual glances of admiration. I owned every bit of me. I had my bouts with colorism , but I remained unbothered. It would be years later when my confidence would be tested.
Like all of my siblings, I was born with a thick head of hair. They maintained the integrity of their locks, however I didn’t. Before I could walk well, my hair began to fall out in patches and I was subsequently diagnosed with alopecia. It was an extremely expensive uphill battle my parents had to endure.
I had a TWA until I was able to wear hair pieces to camouflage the hair loss and ease with the bullying I received at school. Slowly, but surely my hair grew. I wore my hair relaxed often times opting for a flawless sew in for versatility. In 2009 on a whim and being upset with the extremely long wait for my relaxer (I was at the salon at 5:20 a.m. and it was a quarter past 9) , I became impatient and chopped all of my relaxed hair off. I brushed my shoulders off and ran out of the salon in an effort to make it to my Saturday morning appointment. I hadn’t given any thought to being natural or chopping my hair off. It wasn’t unusual for me to go into the salon with hair and walk out with the ability to “see what I was thinking” more clearly. I was just impatient and cutting it all off seemed like a great idea. Couple that with the “Good Hair” documentary and my decision was a no brainer. To relieve the stress of manipulating my hair, I had it weaved to start the spring semester of my senior year. The desire for ease turned into new installations every six weeks, subsequently having my spring and summer bundled up.
During the transition, I began dating a dude who gave me everything I felt I didn’t have with a previous relationship. We could talk days about our goals and ambitions and randomly he would remind me how beautiful my mind was, casually referencing it to my physical beauty. It was one thing to feel aesthetically attractive, but to have that intellectual attraction embodied something astronomical. We would spend our days traveling , indulging our palettes in eclectic cuisine and conversing until the wee hours about the philosophical contributions of Dante , Homer and Pythogoras. We planned how we could change the world. Me with writing and speaking. He would take a grass roots effect establishing a better foundation in education for the pupils. It was a sapiosexual’s paradise. I would have my weave taken down and he would massage my scalp , helping me twist my hair. It was a beautiful thing until he looked me squarely in my face and asked “when would I get my hair weaved again?”.
Perplexed I casually inquired why and was greeted with words such unappealing and down right ugly. At that moment flashbacks of my child hood appeared so vividly. Unlike childhood, I didn’t wear hair now to cover bald spots. There were none. My hair was thick and long. I wore weave for the ease. Nonetheless it invoked those same emotions. I stood there emotionally naked, basking in the shame of my hair once again. My natural hair was groomed religiously. I had my edge ups in the nape of my neck. I did my trims. My hair was never not combed or styled. What made him abhor the way God intended for my hair to grow? I attempted to look past his comments, but I noticed his admiration dwindled. The same room I could once kill appeared to look at me in disgust. For the first time I questioned myself. I resented that vulnerability … the picking apart of myself. Was I good enough?
I was still the same intellectual. The Nik that would give you her last was still there. The girl he madly admired was still apparent, my hair was just kinky curly. After a few days, I stopped toying with the bouts of pity and rolled up my big girl sleeves. It was a take it or leave it deal from that day forward. If I never let my skin tone hinder me, how could I let something as trivial as my hair style do so? I rebelled against getting my hair weaved. I walked back into those same rooms and owned them as I previously did months gone by. I realized it wasn’t my hair or flawless make-up application that caused eyes to glance me over. It was my confidence. I could not make myself a victim of someone’s preference or opinion. I controlled me.