Growing up, my mom never allowed me to do anything to my hair.
She never cut it; I couldn't dye it. I would even get in trouble if I added temporary color with that cool colored hairspray.
Being of mixed heritage, my hair was curly, wavy and straight all in one. Its texture was unique, and of course, I didn't appreciate it.
When I reached the ripe age of 18, I went all out and experimented with my hair. Between the ages of 19 to 22, my hair changed even more.
I like to credit some of my drastic changes to a bad breakup, but the changes were mostly the result of the sheer pleasure of reinventing myself over and over again via my hair.
It's honestly fun to have alter egos based on the names of your wigs or whatever look you're rocking that day.
For example, when I was 21, I dyed my hair jet black right before a girls' trip to Vegas. I told all the guys who hit on me my name was Trixie. And let's just say, Trixie got a ton a free drinks.
Dying my hair jet black made me feel more exotic. It served as a complement to my golden tan, as opposed to my usual natural brown hair and yellow tone. Changing my look (and my identity) for just one trip boosted my confidence like none other.
Then, around 22, I decided to cut all my hair off. That's right, I did the big chop. No more exotic hairstyles and wild colors for me. Nope, I decided to get rid of it all.
Since then, I've learned a lot about what hair means to me and how wigs or weaves can create an alternative alter ego.
Here's what I learned:
1. I am not my hair, and neither are you.
When I first cut my hair off, my parents were against it. My hair dresser didn't want to cut it, my friends didn't understand and some people hated the idea completely.
Random people at bars even asked me if I was gay because of my short, boyish pixie cut styled with my usual choice of leggings and combat boots.
Despite their obvious habit for stereotyping people based on looks, I cut my hair because IT'S MY HAIR. Other people's opinions don't matter, sorry to break it to you.
After dyeing it for a few years, my hair was damaged and unhealthy. And after a breakup, I wanted a fresh start. So I cut it all off.
And I felt more feminine with short hair than I ever did when it was long. I felt liberated and overly feminine, like the kind of woman who doesn't need hair to define her and can exude flawless confidence naturally.
A lot of times, your hair can feel like a safety blanket. For those who are bold, I suggest cutting it off to see how much you discover about yourself by breaking out of your comfort zone.
I bet you'll find new ways to wear clothes, style your makeup and even rediscover self-worth and confidence due to your lack of hair.
Seriously, TRY IT.
2. Hair is just hair.
As women, we are very, very attached to our hair. It's ideal to have long, luscious locks, am I right?
But you know the best part about having hair? It grows back.
Trust me, you owe it to yourself to explore and experiment, so go ahead and try out new looks. And if you hate your new hair cut or despise your new dye job, that's what wigs are for.
Wigs are a great alternative to achieve your most desired looks, and it's better than a weave because, just like a hat, you can take it off at the end of a day.
Alternatively, if you're the type who likes to plan out every little outcome before cutting your hair, try a wig. You'll feel like a whole new woman and instantly become addicted to the simple hair hack.
But make sure you do your research. Because not all wigs will look good, and you need to know the proper way of putting them on. After all, the goal is for wigs to look natural, right?
3. Hair is a lifestyle choice and change.
Part of the reason I cut my hair was because I wanted to go “natural." This meant embracing my identity along with my curly, confused afro puff.
Becoming “natural” meant repairing years of damage and “doing better” moving forward to nourish my thick tresses and luscious locks to their previous state. Basically, I had to get my hair back to the pre-experimental stages of its life.
It taught me how to love myself. Your hair is who you are. Embracing your texture and your look can help with self-esteem, restore newfound confidence and improve self-worth overall.
If you're nursing your hair back to health, it also teaches you how to take better care of your insides to improve your outside appearance.
You start to do things like drink more water, properly care for and wash your hair, take vitamins, etc.
After doing the big chop twice, I decided to finally let my hair grow back. I had enough of experimenting, and I just wanted to be myself.
And now, my curls are almost as big as a lion's mane. Of course there are some days I don't brush it out of sheer laziness and I look like a mess, but I figure people should take me as I am.
If you can't accept me at my worst, then why have I at my best?
At the end of the day, do you. I totally support anybody who has enough balls to cut their hair off or dye it some crazy ass color.
Hair is your free expression, take advantage of that.
It doesn't matter if you're Team Long Hair or Team No Hair, just do whatever feels authentic to you.