I Am (not) My Hair
I can still hear their giggles and whispers. I recall wondering what was being said, what was so funny, and who the butt of their jokes was. I remember my sixth grade best friend looking back at me as she mumbled, “they’re talking about you” but I didn’t understand why. I had on a fresh school uniform, my shoes weren’t scuffed, I just got my hair done, and my breath smelled pretty good from the candy I devoured during lunch… My little heart couldn’t bear being the reason for their kicks and giggles so I leaned in asking my bestie and one of the girls who was laughing what was being said. They responded informing me that,
I Ain’t Got No Edges
No what!!!? I remember going into the girl’s bathroom later that day just to get a glimpse of what it was that these girls saw & I had never noticed. My bestie assisted in pointing out my thinning edges to me. Following this huge ordeal, I couldn’t help but stare into my mirror once I got home. I stood staring at my imperfections at the tender age of eleven wondering why my hair was… receding. As soon as my mother arrived home from work, I begged her to allow me to take my braids out… I was wearing weave cornrows that my brother’s girlfriend’s mother had put in my hair for, I think, fifteen dollars. “They’re teasing me,” I cried. “My hair is falling out Mah”. My mom shrugged ignoring what appeared to be her little drama queen in distress.
That day, which is now embedded in my memory bank, led me to become fixated on hair. Why is her hair long and mine so short? Why is my ponytail so skinny and hers fluffy like a poodle’s tail? What’s wrong with my hair? All I can hear in repetition in my brain was…
“Bald headed cabbage patch
Ain’t got no hair in the back
Weaved up… Gelled up
You need a touch-up
Not a little Not a lot
Just cover that Bald Spot”
… a little song we used to sing in elementary school (before I realized that I too had this flaw). My fixation led to me styling my hair every single day in attempts to distract people from my latest insecurity. I wanted to look cute and receive kudos from my peers. I needed to find confidence and for me, that came from wearing flat twists on Monday, a sock bun on Tuesday and Wednesday, Shirley temple curls on Thursday, and a half up-half down on Friday. I was literally tugging and pulling, styling and restyling, curling and burning my hair each and every day!
Well damn! Did your hair grow back?
Yes! In due time, my edges grew back but I decided to get Senegalese twists, which took my edges right back out. After some months passed, my hair revisited. I got excited and I opted for micro braids… this pattern repeated throughout high school. By the time I got to college, I was a pro at hiding my thin edges. Teasing, though, was non-existent because no one ever noticed unless I made it apparent to them or they were styling my hair.
Sadly, this insecurity… this flaw of mine would spill over into adulthood. I found security in wearing weaves. I would find myself in someone’s lap or chair in both Georgia and Jersey getting my appearance together. Despite the foundation of these weaves being very tight (the braids) and sometimes heavy (the weaves), I refused to stop. I became addicted to “being in hiding”. Why would I want to be the reason for anyone’s jokes, memes, or tweets?
I still struggle with my insecurity despite my friends and mother’s attempts to help me feel comfortable around them. My current friends know about my hair flaws because I’ve learned to immediately let them know about it. I suppose it’s more for my comfort than for their knowledge. Even still, I would rather walk around with a bonnet, scarf, or a hat on my head than to feel like the odd woman out. A mental struggle that I have is wondering if it’s a personal insecurity that I have or is this feeling due to ridicule people who have thin hair and no edges receive from social media and television shows.
SN: If you watch Real Housewives of Atlanta, I’m sure you saw Nene’s “No Wig” party, which was supposed to celebrate natural hair but HONEY… they tease and slander one another’s hair All of THEE Time smh... People are slandered daily, aside from this show, for having non-existent or thinning edges.
2016 and beyond
I now enjoy shopping for and wearing wigs. I love the versatility and convenience they offer. On many occasions, I am approached by strangers and friends who compliment my wigs… some not even knowing it’s a wig. I have been asked by my mom, aunt, friends, and others to either take them wig shopping or let them know where I shop because it appears that I choose quality wigs with nice shapes and styles. Every wig that I wear compliments my face and style.
Wearing wigs boosts my confidence and allows me to be free from ridicule. Simultaneously, I sometimes get tired of wigs and am looking forward to finding a natural hairstyle that compliments my beauty. I have been googling hair cuts since January 2020 but I am not quite sure what I want to do yet but I am excited. This is going to be a huge change for me! Yes, I ain’t got no edges but I do have hair. I’m just talented as fuck when it comes to hiding my flaws <3
While some women look forward to getting home and taking off their bras, I frequently look forward to taking off my wig and plopping it on Jenny, my mannequin.