3 Reasons I Will Cut My Hair While Raising Girls
What can be said of a woman and her hair?
Locs, curls, tresses and ringlets oh my!
Our hair is our crown, a badge of honor that we take immense pride in and garner attention for.
For as long as I can remember, hair has been an oversaturated topic of discussion. Our history reflects as such.
We can all recount pivotal moments in our hair journeys from childhood to maturation that either left a positive or negative sentiment in our hearts. Although there is no scientific research to prove this theory, I can say with certainty that there is a direct correlation between our hair and our self-esteem.
My first memories of my hair journey began in elementary school, I remember the countless comparisons that I would make between myself and fellow classmates. My first elementary school was predominately African American so much of what I found in my comparisons matched up.
My mother and I later decided that I would pursue an educational opportunity to attend a private school. In doing so the diversity that I was exposed to changed and I was introduced to so many new cultures and I absolutely loved it.
From a young age, I noticed that the world was filled with so many beautiful people. As time progressed, I began to notice that I didn’t look like many of my friends after a casual day of swimming. And even after the relaxing systems became popular, my mother refrained so I never achieved the “straightness” that many of my cohorts did.
Needless to say, the extra curls around the edges that I affectionately refer to as “kinks” were not becoming to me. If I were brutally honest, I felt ugly.
Somewhere between hot summers, swelling hair and pool parties, I began to adopt that no good notion that straight hair was better. Not only did I think it was better, I thought it was prettier. That’s powerful.
Around 5th grade, I wrote my first book featuring women who I felt had achieved some standard of excellence in our community, which in retrospect is enlightening as it heavily mirrors my book A Heroine in Heels today.
The night before my book signing, my mother took me to the hair salon and I begged for a relaxer. She had been against it but wanted to reward me for becoming an author.
That night, I was permed and pressed and honey I left that salon feeling like a million bucks.
The next day when I arrived at school for my book signing, everyone told me how pretty I looked. “What did you do to you hair”? You look beautiful! Wow! Friends of every color complimented me.
On that day, I learned that to be pretty meant that my hair had to meet a certain imaginary standard.
I was celebrated for my book but I most remember the impact that my hair made.
Did you read that? I had just become an author at age 10 and I most remember my straight hair.
Fast forward several years and I went through several hair transitions and love hate relationships with my hair like every other woman in the world.
The problem with all of this was that, I didn’t feel pretty if my hair didn’t look a certain way. My self-esteem was directly tied to my hair. And society reinforced it.
About a year ago, my youngest daughter London asked me a question that floored me: “Do you have to have long hair to be pretty?”
Now I know that I can thank all of the media that I have exposed her to for the development of this belief. And while media exposure is not going away, I can’t completely place the blame there.
This isn’t some self-righteous post that’s meant to preach to the masses, it’s simply my attempt to call out the societal imposed slavery that we subject ourselves to day in and day out.
I have decided to define my beauty on my own terms for me and for my little girls who are watching. Here’s why:
1. I refuse to be a victim of societal imposed standards of beauty or be seen as such.
2. I recognize that my hair is for my enjoyment. It is my artistic expression of who I am and no one else gets to tell me how to do enjoy me.
3. I don’t have to keep up with anyone except me. I’m not on trend. My personal style has no expiration date. It ends when I say it ends.
These are the same reasons that I established The Beautiful Mile. We deserve to reclaim the way that we define beauty. We have been captive to societal imposed standards for far too long. I say NO MORE. No more no bondage. We deserve to be free.
To date, we have established over 30 teams of women who will take steps at The Beautiful Mile to redefine beauty for these same reasons. Not only is this an amazing opportunity to network and engage with countless women who are entrepreneurs, activists, community leaders and educators who are ready to break free but also a time to show the world that you are here. We are working on solidifying news coverage to ensure that The Beautiful Mile is not only recognized and televised but also heard around the country. Not to mention, my 3rd released film will be #thebeautifulmile featuring all of the amazing women taking part in this historic event. You can not miss it. We even have ladies establishing teams to walk to represent their businesses from other states. It’s going to be major!
And if my reasoning is not enough, consider the lyrics from India Arie’s song: “I AM Not My Hair”
I am not my hair
I am not this skin
I am not your expectations
I am a soul that lives within
We have every right to define our own beauty and we will never walk in our greatest power until we do.
Are you with me? Wake up, look in the mirror and love exactly who you see. You get to decide how you define beauty, no one else. You have all power.
If you are feeling amazing as you should, get involved. Buy a pass to join us or start your own team. To start your own team for The Beautiful Mile and take steps to have your business or brand recognized, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also visit www.thebeautifulmile.com to see our announcements of Power Partners as well as our vendor directory and corporate sponsors!
As for me, I’ll be the one walking with the short cut with nothing but love in my heart for me and for you. Join me! All my love. ❤️
Ardre Orie, Author|Film Director|Advocate