How I almost let being ‘Bald’ keep me in a Toxic relationship
No! I don’t have cancer!
No! I’m not a survivor- unless you count surviving:
. my childhood
. Teenage years
. 20’s-40’s AND now
. My MidlifeCrisis
No! My shaved head is not a new cool hairstyle- since I have ‘No more hair’
No! I’m not sick!
Ayanna challenges us to rethink the importance of hair for all women, both within and beyond the black community.
I, too, stand with Massachusetts Representative: Ayana Presley, by being Boldy-Unapologetic & Beautifully-BALD.
My mother had alopecia when I was a kid. We didn’t have a name for it; however, she had lost a good amount of her hair by the time I could walk and talk
I was accustomed to seeing her in head scarves, bonnets and wigs. This was a time when wigs primarily worn by mother’s weren’t particularly fashionable or natural looking. Her wigs always looked like they had been sprayed down with too much oil sheen or crisp grease. You would’ve never seen a high school aged teenager rocking a wig when I was coming up, the way you see today. That’s another story for another time.
I’d accompany her to dermatology visits where a white male doctor would administer shots of some solution into her scalp and then prescribe her a white thick grease solution in a plain white bottle with a black lid. Certain details one never forgets. I preface his race because after many years of seeking out advice from professional ma, seeing a host of both African-American and Caucasian Dermatologists and hair stylist- I’m convinced that a woman or man of color who can relate to our culture, customs, diet AND Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome that lies in the DNA of every African-American defendant of slavery would better be able to:
. Identify the root causes
. Come up with a collective treatment and/or solution
Twelve or so years after those visits with my mother, her first born child; which would be me, felt as if I was losing my crown and glory; along with my femininity.
Of course I held onto it for as long as I could. Or should I say of course I disguised it for as long as I could under weaves- cornrows-fro-hawk hairstyles, scarves I’d rock in between hair appointments and wigs. Besides- no man I knew, saw on tv or read about was checkin for ‘bald black women,’
It wasn’t until July of 2016- when my new/old boyfriend asked me to move in with him to Orlando, Fl did the realization that I would have to reveal my dirty little secret.
This was a man who knew I wore weaves. He would actually go with me to pick out hair for my sew in fro-hawk signature hairstyle.
The conversation went something like this:
Me: So, FYI! I’m probably going to lose all of my hair at some point. Just thought you should know in case you have an issue with hair
Him: Babe! I like women with short hair. I’m good with it. You can shave it all off now for all I care”
To myself I screamed inside “ He’s my soulmate. The man of my dreams. A man willing to accept me for who I am”
“He’s a keeper!”
I was right and mostly wrong. While he was none of those things that we women sometimes fantasize about, he did support me in shaving my head. He did one better. He shaved my hair off New Year’s Day 2017.
It was both liberating and terrifying. Now, WHO was I with no hair? WHAT was I. When I looked in the mirror, I didn’t recognize this woman. I cried buckets of tears on and off for two years. Two whole years. A few months after the big shave, my sister asjed
Her: “ So, aren’t you used to it yet?”
Me: “ I had hair for 47 years. It just might take another 47. No. I am NOT used to being bald”
The man I thought was so accepting of my new bald look rarely if ever touched my head outside of shaving it. Even then, I’d have to beg and manipulate him into shaving my head. I felt isolated, alone and unattractive. It seemed as if I was the ONLY bald woman in Orlando, Fl. Men didn’t look at me anymore. I tried to convince myself that it didn’t matter because I had a man. I had a man I didn’t want and felt pretty certain didn’t want me either. Do, I really didn’t have a man. But, I’m bald now. I’d better just be happy or atleast content with the man I have.
Bald girls need love too
Six months into being bald- I began feeling myself slowly returning to my old vibrant-happy-outgoing and optimistic self. I began having clothes and hats made. I started wearing makeup & false eyes lashes more often. I would even run my bald ass through the streets of Orlando, Fl for all to gawk at.
I began getting out and facing being ‘Uncomfortably Bald’. See! I realized nothing had changed about WHO I was on the inside and how I felt about myself. I assumed because the outside changed- then I needed to somehow be different. Soon afterwards the compliments came from both men and women, young and old. Oddly enough, the majority of said compliments came from older Caucasian men. That was a shocker. People began to see past my head and into my heart. They could see ON me how I felt within me with or without hair.
I gained the courage to leave a relationship that wasn’t serving me and me serving it. BELIEVING that the right man would see that ‘ I Am NOT my hair’ That I am sooo much more- I ventured back into the land of ‘Single and not ready to mingle’
During those thirteen months living ‘baldly’ in Orlando, Fl, being in a toxic relationship while newly bald, enduring the state’s and the uncertainty of Love after bald- I gained a new kind of confidence in myself. I stopped worrying about if men would find me attractive-feminine and desirable. I felt so good about myself- I no longer cared as much. I began loving myself new ways. This new self-love both filled me up and filled up my time.
January 1, 2020 was Immy three year anniversary as a ‘Beautiful BALD Babe’ and I’m happy to say that outside of there not being a plethora of suitable single men I’ve encountered since relocating to Baltimore – I have only received love for my shinny head from both men and women.
My five year old niece told me I was beautiful bald; so I’m good with that.
Even if I could grow hair- I can honestly say that I would never go back to having a full head of hair. Give me one inch on top that I could color and I’m rocking the shaved look forevah!