Short. Sharp. Chic.

Chronicle of the Short Natural

My hair became badly damaged due to the effects of a general anesthetic during surgery on July 4th to repair my badly broken arm.  It started slowly, about 3 weeks after the surgery.   I had been following my No-Comb method and started noticing a lot of shedding whenever I detangled. At first I thought this shedding was due to me not combing my hair as often because of my broken arm which caused the shed hair to build up. But as the days turned into weeks, I noticed my hair getting shorter and shorter.

When wet, my hair length was at my elbows... then just below shoulders, above shoulders then at the base of my neck. Handfuls of my hair were coming out after every rinse and detangle session. All the time this was happening my texture was changing from springs and coils to a knotted tangled mess.

I was suffering from a form of telogen effluvium. So I had a choice. Either wear a wig or cut it off. Cutting it off seemed too drastic for me, I still thought I could save my hair. So for about a week I looked at wigs! Some were really nice but the ones I liked were all very expensive and looked complicated to install.

Still, I held onto the wig idea, picturing myself still with long, thick hair... but as my hair continued to destroy itself I started wearing the scraggly ends tucked under in back, sort of like a French roll, with the top of my hair out. I began to imagine myself with no hair at the temples, back and sides... so a cut became more and more appealing.

One day, I woke up, took a shower and my hair was a complete MESS. I looked in the mirror and a refugee from a war zone looked back at me. That was it. That afternoon I put a chair in my garden and told my stylist/boyfriend to start cutting. I had told him before how I wanted it cut but having been a top stylist for Vogue Paris he is not the type of person you can tell what to do when it comes to hair, so I let him do his thing.

dee twaSo now it’s done.  And I LOVE my new cut. It’s unique, edgy and sharp, just the way I pictured it.

I will not kid myself – if I hadn’t had damaged hair, I would never have had a cut like this. This is seriously short. When something happens which forces you to make a decision from where there is no turning back, you learn things about yourself. I discovered that I was more comfortable wearing my short hair than wearing someone else’s long hair.  Losing my long hair had a fear attached to it similar to the fear of my natural hair while I was still relaxed. It had a hold on me and I had my identity all tied up with it.

People have already asked me will I grow my hair long again. Honestly, I don’t know and right now I’m not even thinking about that. I’ve let my long hair go for the time being and another journey has begun.

Last modified on Saturday, 25 November 2017 03:40
Patricia Gaines

Patricia Gaines aka Deecoily is the founder and creator of Nappturality in 2002, the beginning of the natural hair movement. Since 2000 she has been blogging on all things natural hair, Black culture and politics.

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