Journalism · Short Stories

My big chop

It’s been almost two years since I decided to go natural. It was the month of October 2012 when I took the leap of faith and went to the barber shop with a friend of mine and cut all my hair off. I was left with about two inches of hair on my head. When I went home I felt so different, I don’t know what it was but I just looked different and I guess that made me feel different too. I remember my housemate coming back come from a long day at work and not noticing my short hair. It wasn’t until she had come from the kitchen with a plate in hand (of course) and joined me in the living room. As she took her first bite into the juicy steak I had made for dinner, she looked up and noticed my short African hair; she was in awe! This was her first time to see my natural hair so she couldn’t help but touch it. See she had never really seen what African hair looked on a black girl underneath all the weaves and relaxed hair that we Africans subject ourselves to.  I don’t blame her for her ignorance because we black females have manipulated our hair to the point of other races believing our hair really is like theirs. Her curiosity didn’t let her stop there, like a kid who had seen the rainbow for the first time she had so many questions, she asked me why I had done such a thing, which was the first of many questions. She was not the only one with many questions, the next day at University all my classmates from my business class where puzzled. I remember sitting in the lecture room and a dear Russian friend of mine came in and sat right behind me. To my surprise he did not say hi which was very unusual of him so I turned around and said my good morning. He was stunned, he then told me he had not recognized me without my hair. I understood his misjudgment and turned back to the lecturer because she was starting to stare. A few minutes later I could feel my friend’s eyes burning into the back of my skull, so I turned and caught him with this baffled look on his face, one I knew so well. I couldn’t help but laugh at his expression; he smiled and asked me, “How is it you always have different hair every other month or week? And why did you cut off your hair? Are you okay?” he was not the last one to ask me if I was okay. Just last month a friend of mine also took the leap of faith and cut off her hair, she too has had to answer all the “third degree” questions I was asked and has been scrutinized by family (who are African as well) and friends and the  one question that is familiar is “Are you okay”. I have come to realize that a lot of female’s who have gone as far as cutting off their hair to a level at which society has labelled as too short have had people question their sanity. Why is it such a turbo to just want to have short hair? I think the blame is to be put on all the melodramatic cliché movies with women cutting their hair after a scripted dramatic experience. Honestly that question pissed me off. Why can’t a respectable lady/woman/girl want to just have a different look? Does something have to be wrong with her? Can’t she just want to change her look, maybe she is going for the bald Brenda Fassie look? Maybe she is undergoing the transformation from permed to natural hair like I was. Does something have to be mentally wrong with her? Or does it have to be a nasty breakup or one of those stupid stereo type scenarios? Why do people automatically judge one’s wellbeing because they saw a woman on TV cut off her hair after she left that abusive husband? The media has made individual’s critic people using the “media stereo type manual”. TV has told people that whoever undergoes any drastic change, be it in the way the dress, a new haircut, plastic surgery (though am not for it am not against it either) has something emotional, physically or mentally wrong with them and has to be watched closely. I am not saying there are people who aren’t doing all these things as a result of whatever issue they are going through but please don’t go around asking everyone who has cut their hair if there is something wrong with them because it really is offensive. Whatever happened to India Aries’ message? Remember?  “I am not my hair, I am not my skin, I am not your expectations”, I couldn’t have said it any better.  I don’t know if it was the same for everyone but that question really did grind my gears. So whoever is reading this don’t just go up to someone who has changed their look and ask them if anything is wrong with them, even if there was why ruin their choice of how to gain back there serenity and control by asking them that question? Chances are they will never tell you if there was anything wrong anyway, so don’t ask them if they are still wired right just give them a compliment am sure that is a much better way of dealing with human beings.

Yours truly

Out of Space-Earthling

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