Well, well, welcome to the next level bunnies.
We all know that first impressions and optics play a huge part in how people perceive us, particularly WOC, the stakes are higher for us.
Non-WOC can dye their hair any colour they like, style their hair in braids, and wear their hair in its natural state without worrying about if they’ll be perceived as ghetto or even if their hair will impact whether they get a job or not.
As WOC the standards are different.
People are losing their jobs over hair, being threatened to get kicked out of school over hair, and being discriminated against over hair.
A few months ago I was thinking of locing my hair but some family members recommended that I wait until I’ve gotten a job, until my employers had seen what I can do.
Same with my job interview. I wanted to give a professional appearance; I wanted them to take me seriously. However, after a few weeks on the job, I started to wear my natural hair out (again).
I started to really consider my relationship with wigs and makeup. I was never one for either of these things until early 2017 but since I discovered it, I’ve been hooked. My hair was growing long in its protective style, my face was fleeky every day, and even simple outfits looked more glamourous. These two things started to influence how I saw my own beauty and hair; that’s when I realised something had to change. So I decided I would wear my hair out and go makeup free for an unspecified period of time until I could again embrace my natural beauty.
A few weeks later, I went to my first academic conference where I was to present my research; I wore a wig. I felt like a fraud, not because I didn’t deserve to be there but because of what was on my head lol. I wanted to take it off in the bathroom but I figured if I suddenly came out with cornrows, that would be a bit much.
After that, I was back to wig-free life until the last month of my dissertation for my Master’s. Let me set the scene: my hair is looking a mess and I had no time, space, or patience to rectify it. So I pop on my wig and cut it into a longish bob. This wig was literally a life-saver but of course I started missing my hair!
Sometime later (after submitting my disseration),
I’m wig-free and rocking fleeky cornrows with my own hair but I’m itching to try a new style or colour or something. I change my hair like we change clothes so I’m ready for something new. But at the same time, I’m conscious that I’ll be moving to a new place with less POC and more pedigree. I can’t lie, thoughts like, “I need a straight black wig to be presentable, instead of my now standard cornrow styles or a bomb coloured wig,” started running through my mind. My friend assuaged my fears, “just be yourself,” he said. Plus, he thought the cornrows were nice.
P.S. they are
I braided my hair with the intention of wearing my wig. Because even though I love my cornrows, I thought I’d give a good first impression when I met with my new academic supervisor with my wig. But then I started thinking, why introduce them to a false you?
Not false because I’m wearing a wig but false because I’m giving the impression that this style is always me when in reality I change my hair almost on a daily basis, in addition to being quirky AF.
This is not saying that I won’t wear wigs (already plotting my next one), but that I’m not going to dim my personality for the sake of appeasing others or defying stereotypes. So yeah, that’s how I’m carrying it.
Really hoping I’m not the only one who felt this way, share your experiences below if you got’em!
p.s. I wore my hair in a giant puff when I met my supervisor #softblackgirl #natural4lyfe #cornrowmafia
Until next time,