Three months ago, I shaved my head. Completely bald. I’ve always wanted to do it. There’s such a freedom in not worrying about hair when you wake up, not having to shampoo every inch of hair, no hair falling everywhere. At this time, there was a school shooting in Florida, and Emma Gonzales was an activist in change. After spotting her great speech in a video my mom shared on Facebook, I was moved by her aura. Her hair played a part in making her look like a student with her own personality. She was confident. After digging around, I found out that she was president of the LGBT club of her high school. Although I am older than her, I wanted to be her. She was my role model. If she can shave her hair and be on TV and make change happen, I can shave my hair too.
Of course, right after I became bald, my mom was crushed. We have a wedding coming up this summer and she wanted my hair to be long and nice, like all the other brown girls. Due to the mental burden of parents restricting my actions through mental stress, I have yet to distance myself even further from parents, something that is really hard for a brown girl to do.
And a lot of my friends asked me “How did you have the nerve to do that? I could never do that.” On top of being inspired by Emma Gonzales, I was studying for the MCAT and I didn’t like how my hair would take longer to clean and dry. A bald head meant no stray hairs on the floor, quick showers, and no hair drying necessary. Honestly, I LOVED having a bald head. It felt very nice and natural. It helped me in Taekwondo class by keeping me looking very well put together, no hairs straggling around.
However, after I cut my hair, I saw the true colors of everyone around me. My parents were very hostile. It felt really bad, honestly. It felt like their love was conditional. People looked at me weird, wondering if I had cancer or if I was just weird. Others complimented me, by straight up walking up to me and saying “you’re rocking your hair, girl!” And I was really anxious, since I was not feeling confident about others’ reactions towards me. Don’t get me wrong, I was 100% confident about my hair, just not about others. In fact, many people thought me shaving my head was spontaneous and crazy. What they don’t know is that I have been contemplating this idea for at least 3 years, seriously considering it during my MCAT preparation, and then finally ignited by Emma Gonzales.
But at the end of the day, I was happy because it was my choice. If I could go back, I would do it again. I still might do it again. It is awkward when I have to hide my hair from brown people that I know, but it also forces me to stay away from negative people and only associate myself with positive people. Since I’m scared of negative people laughing at me, I forcefully avoid them. And that has changed my life for the better.
After I cut my hair and told my mom, I just didn’t visit home for two weeks. Eventually, my family missed me so much and asked me to come home to visit. I was at the “upper hand”. I didn’t need to visit if they were going to be negative. But they slowly had to become okay with it, for the sake of having their daughter not run away from them. I think that’s what my hair helped me with. It forcefully showed that I will not bow down to what my parents want from me. And because I have my own apartment near our house, I just didn’t show up at home until they gave up and yearned for me to come back.
Turn the chains your parents have on you into threads. That is my motto. Once they are threads, my parents will want me to come back and then hopefully, we can have a mutually respectful relationship like we are supposed to have.