I first decided to grow out my hair in the Fall of 2009 when I was grad school. I was in a counseling program and we were encouraged (OK, more like forced) to do a lot of self reflection and the issue of my hair and race kept coming up for me. I remembered when I used to get teased a lot because I was biracial and people used to talk about my hair... a lot. I actually found the attention both nice and uncomfortable at times. It was definitely one of those situations where I was told I had "good hair" and that my hair wasn't nappy. If only they could see me now!
So while I was in my program, I was doing a lot of reflecting on different parts of my identity, asking myself questions like "What does it really mean to be a man?" and "What does it mean to be Black or biracial?" So I thought back to those days of being teased and all the comments about my hair and just decided to run with it. I was also growing more and more tired of getting the same old boring cut at the barbershop and looking like everyone else.
I didn't care what anyone else thought. I was going to grow out my hair and see what happened. Well...a lot happened! I initially got a lot of positive feedback from people, especially at the very liberal school I was attending at the time. As time went on, the comments got a bit more balanced with some negative ones thrown in. I realized that my problem was that I cared about all the comments a bit too much and after more reflection I realized that was part of the reason I had not tried growing out my hair before then. I realized I was so caught up with other people's perceptions of me that I gave less consideration to what I personally liked and didn't like.