Bald and Beautiful

Feat Image via stéfan bourson.

While I’m not completely bald, I’m close. The difference in cutting off even just a few inches of hair can be staggering, however. I’d like to say my decision to return to my natural hair was purely based on desire, but it was not. It began as a functional decision due to the loss of dexterity in my hands. My hair is naturally very thick and grows like garden weeds in an Alabama summer. It just came to a point where I physically couldn’t handle the daily maintenance of my hair. So I did a lot of research and decided to return to my natural state.

The reaction to my decision was NOT as I hoped.

My mother (a licensed cosmetologist) was especially uneasy with this decision. She’s been taking care of my hair my entire life; naturally I asked her to perform my initial “big chop.” She fought me on this decision for 6 months. SIX MONTHS. She finally saw that I wasn’t going to back down and cut it for me. I loved it! I was so excited about learning to care for it, styling it, etc. My natural hair journey had officially begun. I let it grow out for about 6 months when I realized I still couldn’t do many of the styles I saw that I wanted to try. It wasn’t due to lack of hair growth, but to my weak hands. I then made the decision to just keep a TWA (that’s Teeny Weeny Afro in natural hair speech) until I could regain the strength in my hands.

During this time of figuring out what was best for my hair, I kept seeing these pictures of astonishingly beautiful women with bald heads or very low cuts (think: Alek Wek and Lupita Nyong’o). Everywhere I looked–magazines, TV, social media–there they were. I’d stare at them for lingering moments admiring their courage to let it all go. I’d try to form a mental image of myself cutting my hair completely off. Would I still be beautiful? After some major encouragement from friends, there was only one way to find out.

Again, this decision was not initially welcomed by my family.

I come from a line of women with what the elders refer to as “good hair.” It’s very thick, long, and curly, especially both of my younger sisters’. If you are into natural hair typing, theirs would be considered a 3B and 3C. Here I am, having not only cut off my thick hair initially, but now I’m getting a “boy cut”?! They weren’t exactly thrilled. However, when I am determined to do something, it’s pretty much going to get done…and it did.

Oh. My. Goodness. This was one of the best decisions I’ve made!!! I’m not even sure if I can properly explain how liberating it was and how free I feel. There is nothing for me to hide behind. I truly see my face. I even noticed my cheekbones for the first time after getting it cut. As ironic as it sounds to many, I feel the most feminine and beautiful after I leave the barbershop. The ease of its maintenance is now merely an added bonus.

Hair remains such a sensitive topic among so many women. I’ve actually had women take me cutting my hair as offensive to them. It’s astounding. Is it my hair, or is it my confidence in feeling beautiful without a single strand flowing in the wind? On the other hand, one of the greatest things I still hear today is “I was so afraid to go for it, but you gave me the courage.” Sometimes I get that sentiment from complete strangers, and it continues to humble me so. Furthermore, remember how my mom wasn’t so thrilled about my decision? Now she tells me all the time that this haircut was “made for me.” My 7-year old son even thinks it’s the “coolest haircut ever.” Imagine if I would have just let everyone persuade me to disregard this idea? Amazing what a simple haircut can teach you about yourself.

My purpose for sharing this is I notice a lot of women who want to make a (sometimes drastic) change that reflects who they are inside. They are, like many of us, afraid they will no longer be accepted or seen as the woman they once were by those they love and respect. These are my words of advice and encouragement. No one knows what’s comfortable for you but you. You have to look at yourself daily. You know what you want the world to see. Whatever that image is, if you want to project it, go for it! Own it. Rock it, and turn some heads while doing so! You will always have at least one person who supports you: me.

Brandy Jones About Brandy Jones

Filed in: Body Image, Confidence, Hair Tags: , , ,
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  • Lindsay

    This post really hit close to home for me! I have Lupus and early on my hair began thinning and falling out in chunks. I was devastated as my hair was always considered “good hair” and something that I would point to as a source of my beauty. I got so depressed in general from being so sick that one day, angry after seeing the mess my hair was in, grabbed a pair of scissors from my desk and just started cutting! My husband came home to find me and sat me down, got good scissors (haha) and trimmed it the right way. It was such a profound moment. I was so scared of what he and everyone else would say when they saw what I did, and when it was over I was more than okay, such a relief! Thank you for sharing!!

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