Episode 3 : The Big Chop…and then some.

Hair is everywhere …no literally. I don’t mean on people’s head because that’s a given. I mean it’s on the floor of Salon’s and Barber shops, it sells in boutiques far and wide, you can order it from your favorite Asian stores online , and in the Caribbean it might even be selling in the cosmetic store down the road. So these days hair has taken on a life of its own.

My hair, as most of my friends know has been very much like a free spirit, setting off on its own adventure changing with my moods and the relative evolution of my personality. I remember entering Secondary/High School with freshly relaxed hair in form 1 and by the time I was in form 5, I caught a jitter bug and chopped it all off one fine weekend. Then off I went to my best friend’s house to have her God sister twist up the bare grains on my scalp instead of totally rocking a ‘man head’ to school the upcoming Monday morning. That Monday before I could even enter the school gate, I could feel eyes on me as I glimpsed the jaws in slow motion dropping. Ha! That day was mega amazing and priceless. As I hit the compound hurrying off to my class, in rolled the giggles and as I got to class it soon morphed into laughs.

“.. I caught a jitter bug and chopped it all off one fine weekend.”

For the entire day I was the talk of the town. “Keziah’s gone mad”…. “Hey girl, so what’s going on, did you do something bad at home? Are they punishing you?”  And it went on and on and on. Then finally I received my first complement of the day during English class from my teacher who I usually sat directly in front of. She simply stopped abruptly in the middle of her teaching looked at me straight in the face smiling and said “I like your hair”. Then with a reveling grin I said, “Oh thanks Miss,” then I watched the smiles in the room turn to straight lines. Did I mention what a good day that was…Oh I did. That July/August vacation (newly termed summer) I dyed my entire hair blonde then black again for 6th form. Shockingly all of a sudden girls began ‘going natural’ in school, a trend that definitely had not been the ‘in thing’ before but I was indeed amused. I wonder where on earth they suddenly got the motivation. Oh Well!

I kept that hair till college and then when going into my second year of University I gave up the Bohemian chic ‘au naturale’ look, took a relaxer AGAIN and headed for an edgier appeal. However, recently I’ve realized that hair has become more of a religion than anything.You have the natural hair Afrocentric women, the straight hair women, those who love them some braids and those who appreciate and wear weave, all of which contribute to one’s PERSONAL STYLE. So what’s the BIG FUSS? Honestly whether Black or White, Asian or Indian etc. A person’s hair is just another expression of their individuality and should not be viewed any other way. I‘ve had the unfortunate opportunity of hearing women discuss other women and their hair, some of which go so far as to discuss ‘the betrayal of their roots’ which is simply nincompoops .

“… hair has become more of a religion than anything.”

Hair is also fashion and as each person embraces a certain style of dressing so too a person may embrace a unique way of wearing their hair. What matters to me is that a woman takes care of herself and presents herself in a respectable manner. I don’t need her hair to be ‘natural’ or an afro to appreciate her. I don’t need it to be straight or curly either. What I need it to be is reflective of a strong and reputable character that exudes self-expression. I need it to say I am comfortable with this look and I love myself. I need it to say this is the way in which I interpret my beauty. In such a case, I’ll honour that. What I will not ever do is try to infringe my definition of true beauty on another woman and attempt to make her feel like ‘my style or preference of hair’ is better than what she has decided on.

I personally love all types of hair. I also love to see lovely dyed hair. It’s all very refreshing to me and gives me a great sense of who the person is. What I have learnt through my hair journey is that I’m vivacious and spontaneous which is something I can rarely help. I find that persons who take the time to ridicule or negatively comment on a person’s hair and their preferred texture perhaps just has a problem accepting themselves…just be who you need to be . I’ve grown to appreciate people for their character and not for the way they wear their hair because quite frankly the world is plagued with bigger issues. So the next time you find yourself having something to say about someone’s hair remember it is not your own. Let’s all be fair in love and hair.



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