So there I was looking at my reflection in the mirror holding my breath as my saloonist called the professional hair cutter who happened to be a guy. He asked me how short I want it. I told him I wanted all the relaxed edges gone.
He just went for it. I cringed as I watched my crown of glory disappear as if it never was. Then when I thought he was done, he wasn’t. I watched it get shorter and shorter to the height of my brother’s hair and my first internal reaction was, “This is horrifying! Why did I do this? I should have transitioned for a while longer!”
He finally evened it all out and said in a very calm voice, “so this is where your natural hair reaches.” It was too short to style or do anything with so he just combed it out then I washed and treated it as my saloonist had recommended. I walked out and went into the next mall or building I could get into, chin up, shoulders straight I walked as dignified as I possibly could into the bathroom and took as many selfies as I could. I needed to validate that I could rock the short hair look, so I put in a million filters on the pictures and posted them on Instagram with no regrets. This was a little more than one month ago.
So what have I learned on the journey since?
1. Natural hair is celebrated. Short natural, nappy, hair not as much. I told my dad one week in that I wanted to braid my hair so that it could grow longer. He said astounded, “no. you should embrace the short hair, this phase you’re in, own it. It looks good on you. Why are you in such a hurry to change it?” That was such a light bulb moment for me. I watched tutorials on styling, and taking care of TWA’s (Tiny-winy-afros) and I began embracing it.
2. Short hair can free you. Cutting my hair was honestly such a brave move and I have gotten mixed reactions because of it. I began to understand that my hair doesn’t define me. Yes, it is a part of who I am which is why I decided to go natural but it is not all of who I am. This allows me to be free to not care, if my hair grew twenty inches and I felt like cutting it again I would. If I wanted to put dreadlocks for a season and then cut it off I would. I am not my hair.
3. Oil your scalp! This is more practical than the last two but it’s something I had to discover for myself. All the tutorials and what not talk about moisturizing your hair and what not to do,which I did, until I noticed my scalp was becoming sensitive. Don’t forget your scalp is your hair’s root. Taking care of it, besides the strands is crucial to healthy hair.
4. Going Natural is time consuming. You will get tired. So sometimes it’s okay not to care that much. Throw on a bandana, style a scarf, or braid your hair with fake attachments from China lol. This point builds up from point number two, unless you are going to become a hair blogger and dedicate your life to your hair then there are other more important things in life. Give your hair only as much time as you have honey.
5. Styling short hair. You Tube is your best friend! There are hundreds, if not thousands of tutorials showing how to style your baby fro, for those days when you just want it to look slick and slay. Some suggestions would be wear big earrings which work perfectly with short hair, and don’t be afraid of a little make-up and some accessories to make your facial features pop.
Shingai is an upcoming writer with a passion for words and expression through writing. She lived in Zimbabwe as a child and has traveled to over ten countries. She craves adventure and hopes to be an inspirational writer. She is currently pursuing a degree in English Literature with a minor in Psychology at Daystar University.