“Get mad, then get over it” — Colin Powell
Tears streamed down my face as I left the hairdresser. I pushed my newly cut strands of hair away from my face, as I sniffled and dialed my mom’s number on my cell phone.
Ring, Ring, Ring.
“Yes?” My mom inquired when she picked up.
At the sound of her voice, I reached my breaking point and exploded into a fit of tears.
“Jo, what’s wrong?” My mom asked over and over again as I tried to regain my composure.
I wasn’t sure how to answer her question. Outwardly, nothing was wrong. It was a beautiful 75 degree December afternoon in Los Angeles, the sun was beaming down on me, I had just finished my classes for the fall semester and was preparing to attend an eloquent banquet free of charge for staff at my school’s newspaper.
I went to the hairdresser that morning in order to get my hair washed and styled in preparation for the classy event. However, I left the salon feeling despondent.
“Jordyn, talk to me,” I heard my mom say.
“She cut my hair Mom. I got a hair cut,” I heard myself respond.
At the beginning of the fall semester of my freshman year, by referral of a family friend, I went to a new salon in Los Angeles. That first year away at school brought many new experiences, as well as considerations that never crossed my mind back in Chicago. Among them being how I would manage and take care of my hair.
When I was growing up I never really gave my hair that much consideration. As an active child involved in sports and several activities, my mom often had me get braids. As I entered high school I phased my braids out for the straightened look. Though I had a crown of sometimes overwhelming tightly curled hair, I only had my hair stylist straighten my hair with a hot comb. I didn’t know too much about perms, but from what all the females in my family told me was that I didn’t need one.
“Jordyn,” my mom said calmly, “You already know that she’s going to have to keep cutting your hair until all the chemicals that damaged your hair are gone.”
I had never been obsessed with my hair. That is, until, I didn’t have it anymore.
After going to the hair salon that my family friend referred a few times I started recognizing that when he washed my hair it didn’t curly up into its characteristic tight curls that I was accustomed too. Instead the curls were looser and the ends of my hair were straighter.
“Strange,” I thought as I sat in the chair, half-distracted by texting on my phone and still fully trusting the hairdresser to have my best interests at heart.
“I’m just not ready for all my hair to be gone at once Mom. That’s all I’m saying. I think I have the right to feel how I’m feeling right now.”
I was now full out yelling at my mom over the phone, two thousand miles away, trying to dissect the root of my pain.
“I’m just not happy, and I want my hair back,” I wept, gasping for air, as if my words would bring back the inches I had lost.
“Well Jordyn,” my mom said, getting short with me. “You’ve been unhappy for a year. How long are you going to let yourself feel this way?”
“Until I have my hair back,” I said and then the phone disconnected.
This is the second piece in my series on growing my natural hair back. Though seemingly trivial, this journey has shaped me as a young adult in many profound ways and in several facets of my life. The next one will run on Thursday, January 2, 2013.