I am not my hair.

[hair & happy]

So I’ve been having this struggle with beauty lately.

I’ve done a few things about it.

I wrote about Numbers. I’ve been attempting to attempt the whole eating-healthy-working-out-not-overdoing-it thing ((again)). So far so good with that. But I’m still struggling. I also read this article on beauty and the most powerful decision a woman can make (read it, I’ll wait. seriously, it’s a good one.)

This kinda sums up how I feel most of the times:

“Some days, I don’t know what do with beauty. Sometimes I want to banish it from my life entirely. Have nothing to do with any part of it. Ban it, get rid of it, scream, “fuck beauty and fuck beauty standards” to everything, and be on my merry way. That way, I won’t be participating in the endless judgments I place on other humans, and on myself.”

So what do we do with this? well, taking responsibility for perpetuating those standards is a good place to start. Yes, some days I really wanna be beautiful. I don’t think I’m alone with this. Human nature. Social pressures. social acceptance. yadda yadda yadda. whatever it is, I wanna change it. (or at least part of it).

One area that (I think) I’ve done well at is ignoring importance placed on hair as it relates to beauty. I’ve never been the type to cry at a bad haircut. Or think twice about change. I’ve chopped it off while walking home in the windy city one night. I’ve dyed it. I’ve chopped it off (again and again..against my Mexican mother’s insistence that women have to have long hair and disappointing looks each time i walked in with shorter locks). Let’s take a trip down memory lane, shall we?

2004
2004

start of my senior year. up until this point, I had had a perm, had my hair relaxed, but generally kept it like a Mexican girl should according to my Mexican mother: long and natural.

2005
2005

Then followed a summer of bad decisions. not pertaining to hair, just bad decisions in life and college. hair remained my basic-pulled-back-add-a-curl look.

2006
2006

I rocked a ‘fro in ’06. good look, no? jk jk but really though..

2006 (2)
2006

A little shorter in ’06 but still basic, straightening it now and then because that’s what college girls did and what people said looked good.

2006_After
2006_after

and then, later that year, I said eff people and chopped it off.

2007
2007

theeen I got bangs. and highlights. …it was obviously a weird year for me.

2008
2008 – 2010

This was when i graduated w my BA and went back to natural, length and color. I was in the Chi for two years after, with little time for hair maintenance. Toward the end of it all, I needed a little change. Walking home from work one snowy night, I passed by a hair salon, turned back, went in, and cut it off.

2010
2010

This was the result.

2011_pt1
2011

After the heartbreak, I had little time to focus on my appearance so I basically ignored it. This picture was at my good friend’s wedding a few weeks after the breakup. Witnessing nuptuals after a heartbreak was rough, fo’ sho’. And while I felt I looked beautiful at the time, it was for all the wrong reasons.

2011-2
2011…

so I felt like i needed a change after the wedding…and I needed to reflect that in my hair.. #badassmuch?

2011-2-2
2011…..

the change wasn’t enough. I felt i needed a bit more…so i made it happen.

2012
2012

then this happened in 2012. i figured I’d let it grow, embraced my quarter-life crisis, and began a year of more bad decisions..

2013
2012….

then good one’s followed later that same year after a weekend away and more hair change

2013-2
2013!

then 2013! this was definitely my fav. I really didn’t care about the chatter against going short again and had wanted to cut it alll off for a long time. it was empowering in a weird I-didn’t-know-a-haircut-would-get-me-comments-about-me-being-“brave” type of way.

2013-2-2
2013

I absolutely loved the cut. my Mexican mother freaked. my siblings questioned my sexuality. i got hit on by lesbians. buut i also got tons of compliments and, more importantly, i just felt good.

2014

Last year was about growth, literally. Getting it trimmed every 3-5 weeks became a pain. And the awkward mullet phase was also a tad bit of an annoyance.

2014-2

so I had one final trim before 2014 ended.

And now? Well, currently, I’m letting it grow out, leaving it natural, working past the above shoulder pain-in-the-you-know-what length. …but i’m feeling like I need a change again. and after this trip down memory lane, i might just make one.

My point with all this? Beauty. and how it changes. and how it’s often defined by what you hear instead of what you feel. and this:

Even in the spaces we fight against it, we are always one undesirable look, one ugly comment, one pathetic rejection away from wondering if we are not beautiful enough.

I am tired of wondering if I am beautiful enough.

Final thought (Jerry Springer style): I think we’re a bit closer to recognizing beautiful as a word that encompasses more than physical presentation. let’s keep working on that though. of note, today is International Women’s Day. What better day than today to change the discourse, to empower ourselves, and to continue moving forward in recognizing our individual beauty that is always there. take care of yourself, aaaand each other

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