Earlier this year I was hanging out with a close group of friends on a Thursday night, celebrating that the school week was over. Late that night, I got the thought to make an appointment at a barber shop for the next day, and to have my hair shaved (a thought that all my friends kindly supported). In the past when I would have severe bad hair days, or when I was sick of braiding it every night and then taking the braids out the next morning, I dramatically thought to just shave it off. Was I having a bad hair day the night I was with my friends? Perhaps. But my desire to get it shaved was realer than ever before, and I knew I had to act on it. When I got back to dorm room late that night, I went online and made an early morning appointment at a barber shop in Boston. My older sister was kind enough to go with me for emotional support, and a lady named Poe was kind enough to shave it off. It took probably one month to get used to having barely any hair, and it was such a test of confidence and learning to love myself. Although I was so excited to get my hair shaved, during the appointment I was nervous, and afterwards I had second guesses about it all. As women, we are so used to relying on our hair as a statement of beauty and femininity. Some of us hide our faces behind it, others use it as a way of distracting others from their true beauty. When I first had no hair, I felt like I looked too masculine, especially because I feel like I have a weird shaped head. I learned that this is who I am, and I can't change how I look. Having no hair made me see myself fully - forcing me to embrace the face I have. It also helped me work focusing on my inside beauty rather than my outer appearance. It has made me feel more confident and bold, and I don't have to hide who I am underneath a dramatically large afro.
I still do struggle sometimes with my appearance when it comes to others commenting about it. Almost every week, there are kids that ask their mom "is that a girl or a boy?" or older people just assume I'm a man, and at my school people think it's funny to laugh and question my gender. Although I get sad for a couple of seconds, I remember that other peoples thoughts about me mean nothing. Overall, what I've learned from shaving my head is to love myself more and be more confident, not to worry what others think, know that beauty and femininity come in different ways and forms, and the importance of stepping out of your comfort zone.