Julia T. Williams | I Am Not My Hair
Julia T. Williams is a storyteller on a mission to help better lives through storytelling. She writes about all the things that go wrong and how people fight to make them right. Telling stories that matter while helping others cultivate theirs.
soul, storytelling, stories that matter, storyteller on a mission, stories to better lives,
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I Am Not My Hair

What is it about hair that defines a person?

As a young girl, I always looked at hair as a semblance of worth. When my hair was short, I would wrap my shawl around my head and fling it around as if it was my own. Silly as I looked, I enjoyed the feeling of flowing hair down my back.

I remember days of sitting down to a hot stove for hours listening to the sizzle of my hair crackling through the teeth of a hot comb. My hair would start to fro back up before my mom could finish because the heat would cause me to sweat it right back out. Guess that was my hair’s defense mechanism. It refused to be altered beyond its natural state.

My mom grew tired of the time spent pressing my hair. It had grown pretty long and was extremely time consuming. So she decided to take me to the base exchange and have my first application of creamy crack slathered on my hair. Who knew that that one time would cause years of addiction.

I was excited about my permanently straightened tresses. No longer did I have to wait for Mom to be up for the task. No more did I have to hide from the rain or limit my physical exertion in P.E. class. The only downfall was that from all of the pressing and not having my ends trimmed, my hair suffered a lot of damage. I had to have more than six inches cut off. My hair went from my training bra strap to right above my shoulders. Luckily it was a cute bob cut that I couldn’t stop swinging.

After years of being a creamy-crackhead, I woke up one morning and decided that I no longer wanted a relaxer. May will be six years since my last lye. But, in those six years, I developed another chemical addiction.

Hair color.

Every time I turned around I was putting more color in my hair. It was so bad that I had dyed my hair three times in one day. The last color didn’t even take. I ended up with some pinkish looking color that my government job was not having. Neither was I. Needless to say, I found a pair of clippers and cut all of my hair off and dyed it jet black.

I loved it. And I am tempted to go back short. I have done it so many times but now I am ready to see some length.

What my problem with length is that people like to associate length with beauty. My father in particular. I love wearing my hair out. It makes me feel good. Wearing twistouts and other funky little hair styles. I feel beautiful being natural. But the moment I straighten my hair, the responses I get make me feel as though I look like crap when my hair is kinky. Again, my father in particular. As soon as he sees me with straight hair he says, “Awwww, Julia. There’s my beautiful daughter. Your hair is so long and pretty. I like it like that.” He’ll even rub my hair and want to take pictures. WTH?!?! He feels like he is complimenting me but in actuality, he’s making me feel like I don’t look beautiful with my hair the other way.

His response makes me wonder what other men think. Do they find me less attractive when my hair is kinky? When I have a head full of hair sitting on top of my head?

I do tend to attract a different class of men since I have been natural, but I still wonder what the consensus is on the subject.

Men: Does a woman’s hairstyle make her less or more attractive?

Women: Have you noticed a difference in the way men look at you based on your choice of hairstyle?

Blessings & Prosperity!

This is Jewells singing out…

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