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.
Now, it’s been two years and like anyone else, I have good days and bad days with my hair. While I used to be bothered by it, I now laugh at how the humidity makes my fro swell in the summertime. I mean really, it’s pretty ridiculous! On good days I take questions like, “Is your hair real?” as compliments and on bad days the comments make me second guess my decision. Ultimately, I’m very happy with my growing mane and I’m having fun with it. I’ve learned a tremendous amount about hair on this site and at NaturallyCurly.com. Both have been great resources to me, even to the point where I pass on the knowledge to those unsuspecting friends of mine. Thanks a lot for the support!