For years I admired women who embraced natural hair. I wanted to do the same but didn’t have enough self-esteem, and when I think about my childhood, it doesn’t surprise me at all.
I grew up in Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic. My mom is Czech, and my biological father is from Guinea. As you can imagine, I was the only mixed kid at the elementary school and later at the high-school.
To say that people were always fascinated with my skin color and my natural hair would be a euphemism. Their comments made me feel like an ugly duckling. To give you an example, my cousins always wanted to touch my hair because it was “weird”. I felt like an exotic monkey. I dreamed about long straight hair and when the first African hair salon opened in Prague, I was the first to have it relaxed.
When I was at University, I got the opportunity to live and study in London and later in Turku, Finland. Once I got exposed to a multicultural environment, I knew I couldn’t live in Prague anymore. Furthermore, I noticed that men found me attractive and thus, there was nothing wrong with me.
I believe that there is nothing wrong with us. Sometimes, we just live at a place that doesn’t get us. And all we need to do is find where we belong.
I have been living in Switzerland for thirteen years and most of the time I got my hair straightened. It was not until last year when I turned forty and started to feel comfortable in my body. I stopped feeling the need to be likable and to prove myself to others. I got tired of the money and time I spent on having my hair straightened. Brazilian Keratin treatment can easily leave you 300$ lighter. A few weeks back when I was sitting on hairdresser’s chair, deciding what to do next, I chose to cut it all off.
It was liberating.
I want to say that I took this decision because I don’t want to conform to Western standards of beauty or that I wanted to make a political statement. But truth be told, natural hair mirrors who I am, how I feel, and that I finally own my narrative.
Have you ever cut your hair short? How did it make you feel?