My hair and I are like Ross and Rachel (yes, I finally got around to watching Friends while I was in college and have since reference the series when appropriate). Admittedly, part of this complicated love-hate relationship is due to the fact that it is thick and curly, thought that is a topic for a future post. My hair is a dull shade of dark brown and has a mind of its own, to the point that I refer to wash day as “taming the beast.” Even still my hair has been considered my most beautiful feature. This was only cemented by how people reacted to it on a daily basis – – with awe and compliments.
And I reveled in it. From as young as seven years of age I would intentionally go to great lengths to show off my often waist length hair. (I say “often” because contrary to popular belief-mostly among my close friends and family- I have cut my hair before, going for more of a layered look to give my hair some kind of dimension.) My mother would mostly keep my hair in two plaits of braids but I would beg her to style it in twists as often as possible so that I could have it loose. Doing so guaranteed that I would gain attention and praise, something that didn’t happen otherwise.
As one can expect, with the compliments also came insults and bullying. Boys would throw spit balls into the back, mean girls would pull my hair whenever they walked by my desk, once they even cut a chunk off from the back. This, added to the fact that I was called fat and ugly by these same classmates on a daily basis, severely damaged my self-esteem to the point that whenever I did let my hair down I would lean forward in order to have my hair cover my face. A right-side-part became my favorite style to ensure full facial coverage.
In addition to that, many members of my family would shame me for my weight, stating that I would only be beautiful if “I made an effort to loose weight” and yet in the same breath praise the beauty of my hair, especially its length. So I would intentionally drape my hair in such a way as to minimize “my flaws,” like back fat. I kept my hair long, playing with different styling methods such as blow drying, as well as the occasional cut which consisted of long layers and even bangs at one point in order to not be monotonous. Whenever I mentioned that I wanted to cut my hair I was always encouraged to keep the length as it would become even more “unmanageable” with the shorter length and that it would draw attention to how big I am.
Fast forward to my twenty-sixth birthday this spring. Reaching this age got me thinking about making some changes in my appearance for me. I have always looked far younger than my age (I’m often confused for a teenager when I am actually in my twenties) and while I do find the reactions I get from people when I reveal my age to be quite funny, when you’re only four years away from turning thirty and you’re still being stopped by the police due to being mistaken for a high school student skipping class you know that something has to change. I confided this to my mentor who suggested I consider a change in hair style. She then introduced me to the very talented, Mimi, the owner of Mimi Michelle Salon Studio in Elmont, NY.
This was my first visit to her salon and I have to say that she is worth every penny. I scheduled a consultation where Mimi asked me about my hair routine and what my hair goals were . I told her that I wanted to get a cut that would accent my natural curls that would also help age me a bit to actually look like someone in her twenties. She recommended a much shorter cut than I had been considering and some added color. I only ever cut my hair to the middle of my back and though I have played with the idea of adding color at various points in high school and college, I have never went through with it because I believed that it would do irreparable damage. She coached me through the process and even took the time to go through hair care tips for this new hair style. In the end she gave me an asymmetrical cut with a pop of red that highlights the brow shade of my hair that I never even considered and I LOVE IT!
Honestly, when the cutting and dyeing was completed I didn’t recognize the girl in the mirror and that wasn’t a bad thing. I don’t look like my old-self because I’m no longer that person. When I got home the reaction from my family was, “What did you do? You’re too fat for short hair.” My long hair didn’t hide the fact that I have fat and am plus size, nor does my shorter hair accentuate that fact even more. My double chin is there regardless of my hair length and of course my upper body is exposed. One thing is sure, I can’t hide anymore. My personality and my style can finally shine on its own.
I especially love how much faster I get though my wash day routine and how I don’t have to worry about getting my hair stuck in door hinges (its happened before). Though from time to time I find myself missing being able to side-braid my hair and creating buns for business meetings, this is the start of a new chapter and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I’m affirming what I believe makes me beautiful, which is not just my hair.
What do you think? Has your size ever stopped you from trying new things?
Disclaimer: This is NOT a sponsored post.