In Barbados, and probably other countries as well, the concept of a woman with long, thick, healthy hair chopping it all off is amazingly taboo.
Most persons were very diplomatic (read: "Oh, it will grow back.") while a few genuinely seemed to like the fact that I'd done something different. Encouraged by the latter camp, I'd just begun to feel safe to enjoy being myself without the aforementioned label of 'the girl with the long, thick hair' when it happened.
"Your hair was so pretty!!!!"
All of a sudden, all of my self doubts came rushing back. I felt exposed, ugly and even more depressed, but I forced myself not to do anything drastic, like run and put a relaxer in my hair on the basis of one woman's comment.
Even though I tried to shake it off, that comment got me thinking about what persons consider to be 'pretty hair', especially here in Barbados, and more importantly, what I believed 'pretty hair' to be.
What I found out showed me just how much I had relied on the length of my hair to be comfortable in my own skin. I had always thought that short hair, be it natural or relaxed was pretty on other women, so why couldn't I apply that same rule to myself and be confident in who I was? After all, didn't 'pretty hair' have more to do with the health of the hair, as opposed to the length, or whether or not it was relaxed or natural?
It took a while, along with a lot of personal development, for me to be confident in my own skin. I became less and less attached to my hair and focused more on becoming the person Jehovah wants me to be.
When I relaxed my hair again about a year later, I did it because the mood struck me, and not because of depression or because I felt that I would once again be seen as having that lady's definition of having pretty hair.
Since then, my life journey has been more about being healthy spiritually and emotionally, which naturally leads into being healthy physically. This includes taking care of my hair in a far more healthy way than I used to, and I'm much happier for it.
In fact, I recently cut all my (healthy) relaxed hair off for the 2nd time! :)
Not everyone will be in love with my choice, but thanks that comment about 'pretty hair' five years ago, I'm quite a bit more confident and less likely to let the opinions of others affect me like they once did.
After all, long or short, relaxed or natural, I do have pretty (healthy) hair. :)
Be confident, ladies! It's easier said than done, especially when sporting a TWA, but if you keep working at it, it will pay off. Trust me, I know. :)