A couple months ago when I took the plunge to buzz I had lots going through my head: I don’t want to keep bleaching it, it’s expensive to get the bleach stripped from my hair, I need a change & hair grows back, right?…
I texted Dylan after I buzzed it and declared “Welp I just buzzed my head! This could be the worst or best thing I could have done.”
It has pushed me out of my comfort zone, taken away the lifelong security blanket of ‘blonde hair don’t care’ and made me think about what my “beauty” means to me after stripping away the “tall blonde” title. I did care, I cared a lot about being blonde. It was comfortable, it was normal, it was part of my identity. I never knew how much it was until I buzzed that part of my ‘identity’ off.
It also started a lot of conversations with the elementary aged girls I work with about confidence and appearance. When I took my hat off at work after the buzz and the kids saw that my hair was pretty much gone there were a lot of gasps and comments like “Ms. Amber why would you do that!” & ” But, you were so pretty!” That last one stung …a lot. Kids are honest and say what is on their mind, they didn’t mean to hurt with that statement, but it hurt a little. I responded by saying “Hey, I’m still the same strong, confident girl I was before. My hair does not define me just like your hair does not define you.” Now if I’m being honest, I was not so confident and pretty scared about the new do, but I said it without thinking so there had to be some truth in there right?
A week or so later I was comfortable enough to not wear a hat, I was picking the kids up from school and a couple kids, who were not in my program, came out of the school with “Woah! you’re hair is gone!” & “You changed your hair!” but one little boy came out and said “Ewww! Gross! What did you do to your hair?!” to which one of my 4th grade girls got up in his face waving her finger saying “She is still the same strong, confident woman as she was before! Now walk away!” ending with a palm in front of his face.
…I cried a little later that day recounting the story to someone else. Whether she got it or she was simply repeating me, I’m not sure, but it certainly helped my confidence that this ornery little 10 year old believed in me through a minor but drastic cosmetic decision I made.
The population of students I work with is largely African American, I try to encourage and praise their decisions of natural hair because that is who they are and they are beautiful! I try to encourage them to embrace their heritage. I make attempts to have conversations about what beauty means to them, is it extensions, clothes, that bit of crazy shiny lipgloss they insist is their natural lips. Or, is it perhaps inside of them? It wasn’t until I buzzed my hair that I was forced to continue to put into practice those conversations in my own life.
Now I could go off on how damning our society is when it comes to looks and and how it puts an insane amount of value in these fleeting temporary frivolities, but I will save that for another time. If you’re thinking about pushing yourself, do it! It’s scary but maybe you will just find out a little more about yourself and how amazing (or possibly terrible) the people around you are. Surround yourself with good and spread good to others.
Plus: Short hair bed head is amazing! I wish this picture did it justice.
I was a tow head as a child and as I got older my hair grew darker, like dirty dishwater blonde darker. I have been lightening and coloring my hair since high school. I had no clue my hair was this dark and it is really interesting to see that their are some red hints and still blonde around my face. I didn’t know what I was hiding, but I like it.