So…how much do you want gone?
All of it.
I sat in a barber’s chair for the first time in my life May 2018 and had my hair cut off. (Side note: Thank you Keith! Your professionalism, service, affirmations through the cut and all around experience made me completely settled in and happy with my decision! Also huge thanks to your wife, Chauntay who helped make sure I was squared away in making an appointment.) Although I have been apprehensive to write about this particular subject – for fear of being perceived that I need to justify or explain my decision to cut my hair off – I think this blog post may help people to make unpopular or uncomfortable decisions in an effort to better themselves, when they need to.
I left the barbershop feeling so sure and free. My parents, sister, and nephew were all visibly shocked, but definitely pleased when they saw the result of my trip. I showered, got dressed, and did my makeup. Then, I posted these pictures on my social media accounts, and headed to a service to support one of my preaching friends.
I can’t recall a time I’ve been a textbook girly girl. Don’t get me wrong, I love looking my best and feeling beautiful; but, in the past I easily achieved that with sweatpants, hair tied, chillin’ with no makeup on. (Y’all know Drake needs some love.) I have always been part tomboy. My fondest childhood memories include me playing basketball in dresses, climbing trees with my little girly purse, or taking off my starter heels for a footrace. No matter what I was wearing, I was always ready to play. A wise person told me, if you stay ready, you won’t waste time getting ready.
As time passed, trends came and left. Bell bottom jeans decreased in popularity while straight leg and skinny jeans were on the rise. Clothes that were too big were no longer in style. (I know you guys remember the long white tee days. Yup! In my white tee.) I remember seeing the trend change for hair. We all had relaxers and silk wraps. Then, all of a sudden it seemed, everyone was wearing a weave.
At first, I didn’t really have an interest in a weave – or anything extra being done to my hair, at all. I hated to sit for braids, or anything that took longer than thirty minutes. Then I had my first weave installed when I was 20. It was fourteen inches long with a middle part. Someone I loved told me, “I love when your hair is long, like that.” From that point on, my life was forever changed.
While I made sure to take care of my own hair, there was nothing like having a freshly installed weave. I felt so beautiful, powerful, and willing to be present. I turned my head differently when someone called my name. I lead worship differently. My selfie game, and all around picture-taking, skyrocketed.
I woke up some time before turning twenty great (28) realizing that I attributed way too much of my beauty, grace, poise, and power to my hair – and in some cases not even MY hair. I went natural, then relaxed my hair, again, then cut it into a bob. Still, too much of what resounded as beautiful to me was aesthetic. That was the problem. I realized that if I only believed I was beautiful when I had a weave, or when my hair was growing, or when my face was fully made up, then I couldn’t really believe I was beautiful, at all.
The Bible describes a woman’s hair as being her glory. (1 Corinthians 11:15) This is the scripture that kept me from cutting my hair for years – this scripture, and the affirmation of a man who preferred my hair a certain way. I struggled with it. The more I struggled, the more I exalted this faux standard of beauty.
As I was anxiously counting the cost of cutting my hair, a thought crossed my mind that changed my perspective. It was so simple, I hate that I struggled with the decision, at all. The thought was, “if anything attempts to even subtly eclipse God’s glory, why keep it, anyway?” That was the push I needed.
So, I laid my glory down.
I laid my glory down because I want my life to mean something beyond what I look like. I cut my hair because it was too important to me in comparison to what should have been most important. I cut my hair because I wanted to; and, I finally felt worthy of making a decision that went against what the typical guy may like seeing. I cut my hair because I was beautiful, powerful, and deserve to live a life completely present. I deserve to live void of worrying whether or not someone would find me worthy based on how I looked. I stopped desiring to be found by someone else, until I truly found myself.
This process of self discovery reminds me of a particular part in the story of Adam and Eve. The part after Adam & Eve ate the forbidden fruit, heard God approaching, and hid in the Garden. (Genesis 3) While wrestling with myself and my identity, and coming to terms with spaces in my life I had been trying to cover, I felt God asking me the same question he asked Adam and Eve.
“Where are you, Jeraye?”
Of course, in my attempt to rationalize, my life’s response was to keep covering and yell from behind everything I am, “I have to cover up. I don’t want anyone to see me naked –or vulnerable – or defenseless.”
It’s just like God to reach beyond all my defense mechanisms by saying, “Who told you you were naked? Who told you you weren’t worthy? Who told you you weren’t powerful?”
I no longer hide behind my hair. I look in the mirror, and see all of my features. The shape of my eyes, cheeks, lips, and nose are new to me, believe it or not. I see my ears everyday for the first time in my life. I look in the mirror sure of who I am and to whom I belong. I still love long hair, and weaves. I will absolutely wear them in the future, maybe – with a healthier perspective.
As you read my reflections on the decision I made via this blog post, I hope you consider things in your life that may have outgrown its place. I encourage you to cut it, even if – especially if – it hurts. It’ll grow back better – when/if you want it to.
With love until next time,