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A balding 13-year old boy and me

Harold movie poster

Good day everyone!  I recently watched a movie on Netflix called “Harold”.  Here is a description of the movie on NetFlix:

“Fitting in at his new high school is tough for Harold (Spencer Breslin), especially since he suffers from early male-pattern baldness. With mean classmates making his life miserable, Harold tries to turn his luck around by taking the advice of a caring janitor (Cuba Gooding Jr.). Co-starring Ally Sheedy, Nikki Blonsky and Chris Parnell, this delightful comedy cleverly depicts the harsh realities of being an outsider.”

Ohhhh how I felt for Harold.  I couldn’t relate to everything because, fortunately, I was not the recipient of bullying.   It was so interesting to me that the whole premise of the movie was how a child would be tormented for his bald pate, how his hair could make him an outsider.  I can relate to feeling like an outsider Harold.  I have been there.  On numerous occasions, I’ve shared how I felt almost like a water-aversive alien because of my hair; afraid of rain, pools, humidity, even a crazy fool with a water hose.  Thanks be to God, I’ve learned (am learning) to accept my hair in all of its glory (even in its smashed, half frizzy state as I type this).  No, I’m not equating kinky / coily hair to male pattern baldness. But, what I am doing is recognizing that we all have identity battles, as we work hard to figure out how we fit in in this world.  May this year bring you self-discovery and self-acceptance as we strive to become the best people that we can be.  Hugs to you all.

Tina

If you or someone you know has experience with male pattern baldness, I’d love to hear more about your experience.  Please email me at contact@hairasidentity.com to schedule a chat.  Thanks!

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The Long Hair Myth: Thanks Frenchie!

Image found at: http://www.frenchiedavis.org/cms-assets/images/761266.frenchie-davis-hr–.jpg


So, I’m having pretty consistent thoughts about chopping off my dreadlocks (sorry if I’m beginning to sound like a broken record but this is what’s on my mind). I’ve even chosen to wear headbands instead of maintenancing my roots because if I decide to chop off my locs I want a bit of new growth. That way, my TWA (teeny weeny afro) will be at least an inch all around.


These thoughts are whirling around in my head last night as I’m flicking channels. I come across NBC’s The Voice and three members of Team Christina are waiting to find out which one of them Christina will advance to the semi-finals (warning, if you’re a fan of the show there are spoilers ahead). Honestly, I don’t really watch the show. I only occasionally tune in to watch Frenchie. Yes, Frenchie who has been on Broadway and can SANG!!!!! I am pulling for her. When Christina calls Frenchie’s name I am ecstatic and I shout out YEESSSS! I am also struck my how stunningly beautiful Frenchie is with her TWA-wearing self (some have even referred to her as bald). She rocks it.


The funny thing is, one of the main reasons that I think I’ve kept my locks is because they’ve gotten long and I like them long. I didn’t really care for the shorter lock phase. I’ve shared that I felt like a prickly porcupine. I like to feel my locks whipping behind me when I’m on a bike ride (thanks to my husband for getting me into that! Great exercise and it’s water free so it’s easy on the hair!). I like to braid them when they’re wet and then unbraid them to reveal wavy splendor. I like to put them in a ponytail, an updo, a side swept coif. However, I’ve recently admitted that I’m AFRAID to cut my hair. I think I’ve somehow gotten trapped in the long hair myth. What is that? The long hair myth is the myth that women with long hair are somehow more feminine, more alluring, more attractive, sexier, slimmer. Hmm, that last word, slimmer. Part of my Big Chop aversion is the fact that I weigh more than I want to and I’m afraid to take away my long hair AND be twenty pounds overweight. There, I’ve confessed.


Back to The Voice. When I saw Frenchie in all of her magnificence it reminded me of something I already know: short haired, big women are beautiful too. I still haven’t made up my mind about my hair but I’m working through the internal issues that I have about making the decision.

  • Stacy

    So funny Tina. My friend who inspired me to get sisterlocs recently had hers cut. She had about 4-6 inches taken off–she said that they had just gotten too heavy and too much to manage. Like others on your blog have said, you will be gorgeous no matter what. But in cutting your locs, you don't have to cut them all off–you can cut them down. I guess this leads me to another question–why have you been thinking about cutting them? So you don't have to do maintenance?

  • topie

    Hi Stacy! I've been thinking about cutting them off because I want to play with my unlocked natural hair. I never really played with it before (I wore twists for 2 years or so but hated it because I thought my hair was too unruly). I didn't explore it and learn how to work with it. I also think this has something to do with my big 4-0 birthday. I'm ready to explore different sides of me. I think. haha! :)

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Coming to the End of the Road: Bald Spots and Still Relaxing

At a certain point in my life, I was still getting relaxers but questioning myself about why I was subjecting myself to the process.As I’ve mentioned before, hair is linked to femininity and attractiveness.I remember I was at a local DC club (Zei Club in Zei Alley…yes, I’m showing my age as I’ve heard the club has long since been gone).I had just gotten my hair relaxed that morning but it had come out too straight so I put on a cute hat.I met a handsome guy and after talking, dancing, and exchanging numbers he reached up uninvited and pulled my hat off of my head.He then said something to express his relief that I didn’t have a knotty head of hair.I was stunned.I mean, “REALLY!?REALLY?!”The nerve!Anyone who knows me (especially my guy friends I grew up with), is probably waiting for me to say that I clocked him in the head right on the spot.I didn’t.Instead, I was relieved that I’d gotten my hair relaxed because if he’d seen my hair, oh, 14 hours earlier, he’d likely have ripped up my phone number and walked away.

Perhaps I continued to get relaxers because I thought that I’d be unattractive to Black men if they saw me in my natural state?I’m NOT saying that all Black men want women with straight hair.I am saying that in the mid-1990s when I was dating, it seemed like the “in look” was long straight hair.Hits like “Bump and Grind”, “That’s the Way Love Goes”, “Weak” and “Whoomp There it Is” filled the air waves and the women dancing in the videos had weaves down their backs.It was only a matter of time before I noticed more and more women wearing similar styles.My girlfriends and I lamented the fact that we were single despite being attractive, educated, kind people.It felt like there were eight Black women for every one Black man because almost every woman I knew was single while every guy I knew had two, three or even ten “girlfriends”.When I reflect back and think about the high demand for men and the sense that my natural hair might put me out of the “running” (not to mention perceived convenience, style, family input, etc.), it is understandable why I continued to get relaxers.Not making excuses, just trying to understand my thinking at the time.

Yet, my hair continued to fall out.This was a time when I was grateful for thick, thick hair because I just had to style my hair in a certain way and the alopecia bald spot was covered.After a while though, the insanity of the situation made me rethink my relationship with my hair.Heck, my relationship with ME.

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