So this morning I looked like this:
And now I look like this:
Yup, I finally did something that I’ve been talking about for months. I chopped of my hair and I’m donating it to Locks of Love. I have literally been thinking about this for over a year, and talking to friends about it for at least 7 months. My inital plan was to do it for my birthday, then do it in the middle of May, then do it September right when school started. And then I realized, I could litereally do this forever. I didn’t want to wait until it got cold because then I’d have no hair to keep me warm, but if I did it in the summer, my hair would be all frizzy and it would impact my beach and dancing in the rain time. All of these are super lame excuses, and so I said to myself, “Self, stop being a pussy and cut your freaking hair already.” So this morning, I told Mo and then I went and did it.
I went to a Dominican spot near school, mainly because they had cut my hair before and it didn’t look crazy and because I knew it’d be cheap. I walk in the store, tell the woman I want to chop my hair to donate it, tell her she had to cut at least 10 inches and waited for the inevitable “are you crazy?” look I get every time I ask to get my hair cut. I was prepared this time. I bought a ruler so she could see that 10 inches wasn’t ALL of my hair, just enough to make some kid a wig. Her mother finally agreed to do it and we were on our way.
After a wash and some blow drying, she braided my hair in the back. She took a little elastic and tied the end of the braid. Then she took out the ruler and measured 10 inches (in retrospect, measuring a braided 10 inches is way more hair than the 10 inches I measured when I pulled my curl out, but whatevs), she measured again and held her finger there. She took a bigger elastic and tied my hair where she had measured. She then took the ruler out again to make sure she had at least 10 inches. I appreciated her attention to detail.
Then she picked up these huge scissors, smiled at me and snip!
Now the ponytail was in my hand and I couldn’t believe I had actually cut off most of my hair to give to a stranger I will never meet. Tomorrow I will put my hair in a padded envelope (I didn’t know hair needed so much protection) and mail off my crowning glory (and let’s be for real, my security blanket) to Florida. I know, now I’m being melodramatic.
But it’s my hair. I haven’t cut my hair since the first time I chopped it in 2003. That time was not preplanned, it was more of “it’s hot as hell in South Africa and we’re all drunk and have scissors so let’s cut Eva’s hair.” That time I also dyed it red, oh the horror. When I came back from South Africa, most of my friends thought it was funny, but what I member most vividly is how much Black men hated it. And when I say hated it, they hated it. I can’t even begin to tell you how many men came up to me to tell me how much they liked my long hair better and how much better I looked before. It was not a fun time and then I vowed I wouldn’t cut my hair anymore.
But having long hair, and long curly hair at that, is a total pain sometimes. It takes forever to brush. I have to gel it up or else I’ll look like Buckwheat. It’s heavy. And during summers like this, it makes you so hot. On the bright side, it looks good and everyone loves it. I didn’t have to deal with unprovoked negative comments about it.
But when I thought about why I was keeping this hair that had slowly begun to drive me crazy, I realized I was doing it for everyone else, to keep everyone else happy. That is not what I’m about anymore. I’m trying to keep me happy. And I knew it would make me very happy to pay it forward and donate this hair to a child, who is probably sick, and could benefit from it much more than me. So I chopped my hair. It feels crazy. It feels light,
it’s constantly in my face and far to short to put in a decent ponytail, but more than this, it feels good. I did this for me and it happens to benefit someone else and that’s pretty sweet.