I’ve long been a sucker for stories. Not just any stories, but real life, in depth, heart felt stories. And really, the subject could be about anything. But, if there is a story behind it, chances are you’ve got yourself a friend for life. I guess in many ways, that plays heavely into my friendship as an adult.
Naturally, when it comes to my natural hair and my transition I am often asked about it. Most of my friends, expect the normal LaTonya. The LaTonya who will keep you entertained with a story the entirety of your subway ride. Usually, every natural girl has a story. Some transitions have to do with being more in touch with your African roots, others have to do with accepting how you were made and loving and owning it. I didn’t. Up until now.
In the past I always referenced my change from permed hair to natural hair as something I just got up and did one day. I was tired of my hair. Tired of processing it and wanted a change. So I did it. Simple. But it wasn’t that simple. As I look back, it was then that I became the best kind of me.
Once I got old enough where I was technically “allowed’ to experiment with my hair, I did. I tried many variations of brown. But the one that stuck around the longest was a honey blonde dye, that I still adore. I began cutting my hair shortly after. It was always a step and repeat of cutting it and letting it grow just a tad bit. Until I realized I actually despised long hair on myself. I felt long hair put me in a box of limited style and limited possibilites. When my hair was short I felt brave, honest, and me.
Prior to marrying Peter I had my sides shaved bald and only a little hair in the middle. I liked this look until it started growing in. The growing stages of short hair is awkward and all you want to do is cut it all over again. Since my wedding was fast approaching I thought it was best to be safe and just do what I could with it. That meant coloring it and styling the new growth. A few days before my wedding I went in for my signature honey blonde and came out with a burnt red. She processed it twice and still failed. I was upset but did what any sane person could do about botched hair before their wedding day, suck it up. Shortly after my wedding I noticed that her processing also changed my hair texture drastically. It quickly became brittle and unattractive. I went to a few stylist after that and they all said the same thing. My hair was damaged.
Not one to shy away from cutting my hair, one day I booked a sitter for River while Peter was at work and I booked a salon appointment with one that seemed reasonably priced and had good reviews. With mild mannered excitement I asked that they cut all of my hair off. By now your probably like so what right? But for my community, you just don’t do those kind of things in haste. If you’re going to cut your hair it better be for a specific style. Not me. I knew I wanted to start from scratch. I wanted to experience what was given to me at birth as an adult.
“I want someone to chop my hair off.”