That time I went bald and the entire world had a fucking conniption

the title of this post basically explains it all, I feel. but I’ll give you a bit of background, cause I feel like you deserve it.

its also like seven am and i havent slept so if you think i proofread this! you wrong sis lol

 

I shaved my head two summers ago, following my first year of university, because it was too much work. I’m a black woman with very curly hair, hair that is not easy to comb through, hair that constantly gets dry and needs a fair amount of attention dedicated to it. I tried leave in styles over the years–braids, weaves, etcetera–but I couldn’t stand the way they made my head feel; heavy, and unable to scratch my scalp. so I was like ‘you know what? forget this’.

Same person! Hard to believe, right? The left is me in 2014, before I shaved my head, and the right is me in 2016, after the second time I shaved it.

One day, I hopped on a bus and got half of my hair cut off, and I thought to myself ‘that wasn’t so bad’. So a couple months later, I hopped in my car and decided that I wanted it all gone, because it was my head and why the fuck not. It took longer to convince the hair stylists in the salon that yes, I wanted to be bald and yes, I thought over this decision and no, I don’t want to wait. I wanted it gone. Begrudgingly, they took a razor to me, and the rush of watching my long, black hair hit the floor is something I can remember vividly.

I loved being bald. I loved it so much that I cut my hair off two more times after it started really growing in again. I didn’t have to worry about waking up early and taking care of it. No more expensive Shea Moisture and Cantu and coconut oil. I had an Amber Rose vibe to me that I adored. Something about being bald made me feel like I was free; I didn’t (and still don’t) give a shit about conforming to crushing, unchanging beauty norms because I am already so far away from what constitutes as pretty.

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That was my vibe, except dark skinned and, like a thousand times more acne. It was a cute look!

But, if you know anything about African American culture, you know that shaving your head is a cardinal sin. Maybe that could be said about any culture, but in one that prides itself on spending a massive amount of time devoted to that shit growing out of your scalp, cutting it all off should never be an option. And, oh boy, did people have some things to say to me after I made my decision, even after telling them how much better I felt about myself.

My mother was the first one (besides the salon ladies) to see my hair all gone, and that night she cried herself to sleep. She didn’t let up on the passive-aggressive comments towards it either (“you promised me I could straighten your hair” and “well, guess you won’t be needing this conditioner anymore…”), and was downright furious with me when I cut it a second time, almost to the point where she nearly stormed out and drove all the way home (she was visiting me for school, which is a whopping six hours drive away). Not just limited to my mother, I had people come up to me and ask if I “was sick”. People misgendered me left and right, calling me sir and mister, even though I have a fairly large (double d) chest, and I’m always in a full face of makeup. I had one woman tell me that if I was her child, she would’ve ‘slapped the shit out of me’ for the choice I made with my own body.

Those months of being bald, which seemed (and still seems) like such a teeny-tiny thing to me, because eventually the hair does grow back, taught me a lesson. People had all types of shitty, awful things to say about me. But I let the negative comments roll off my back, because I was happy. I was sure of my decision, and I felt better being hairless, being bald and naked as a damn mole rat, than I ever did with a full, curly head of hair.

No matter what choice you make, people are always going to have some hurtful things to say to you. So do whatever the fuck you want…so long as it doesn’t involve manslaughter or aggravated robbery, i guess.

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