Pretty (Does) Hurt…


I cut my hair…

On the the fourth day of January 2014, I cut my hair. I cut it for just basic reasons: I’m an African in a small town in Scotland, its difficult and expensive to manage my hair. The first time I braided my hair in the ghana weaves style, I was charged 85 pounds, if you are a Nigerian you that it is very expensive. I spoke to my mom and friends around that I wanted to cut my hair, I mean what is the point, it’s just hair and I didn’t understand why I had to spend so much money on just hair. My mum told that the mere thinking of cutting my hair meant I needed to see a psychiatrist. Sigh…

Its just hair, what’s the big deal I thought to myself…

I stayed with my braids and I kept it for almost three months because I was scared of how much effort and time and money it was going to take to make my hair again. My younger sister called me on Skype and saw my braids and asked if it was the same braids I had done 3 months ago, I said yes, and she screamed. “How can you keep braids on for so long ,you would look old and dirty”. Then I mentioned,I wanted to cut my hair and she shouted, “NO! maman would send you money”. Earlier that week, I had made an appointment to get my braids done and this time my bill was 94 pounds because I didn’t have extensions, can you imagine that I would have to use 25 thousand naira to make my hair, braids that I make for 1500naira back home, it was ridiculous. I couldn’t bear the thought of giving out that much money just for my hair.I’m not stingy, just practical.

I mean, it’s just hair…

So I decided to get rid of my hair and I cut it to the lowest I could and I got into the shower,stayed under the water for 30 minutes without moving because I could feel my head. The last time I felt that good was in high school, we all had to cut our hair then, to avoid distractions I guess, it takes a lot to maintain African hair. I decided not to cover my head with a wig, my flatmate Rebecca called me brave and said I ‘worked’ the look, she is Scottish. As I write this, its day four of my haircut and the amount of compliments I have been getting from people(white people) is interesting, apparently I have a very cute face with full lusious lips and beautiful eyes.Most of my African friends in diaspora have complimented me a lot too. But my African friends and friends back home have not been very happy , they think I’m out of my mind for cutting my hair.

What is the big deal, it’s just hair…

I called my mom up and told her I cut my hair, and she went silent for a full minute, and said, “so you think you are so old and can do whatever you want?” She doesn’t want to undersand why I cut my hair, why doesn’t anyone understand why I cut my hair. It’s not a fashion statement. It’s not an act of rebellion. I was just too exhausted taking care of my hair and it kept getting weak and cutting, so I decided to cut my hair and put it out of its misery.

Was I wrong?

I’m going to share lyrics from Beyoncé’ song, Pretty Hurts:
Pretty hurts, we shine the light on whatever’s worse
Perfection is a disease of a nation, pretty hurts, pretty hurts
Pretty hurts, we shine the light on whatever’s worse
You’re tryna fix something but you can’t fix what you can’t see
It’s the soul that needs the surgery

I’m from a culture that deeply respects the hair of a woman, it doesn’t even have to be real, as long as a woman has hair on her head she is more pretty, and cultured and smart and a real member of the society. I’m from a culture where cutting the woman’s hair is a sign of mourning, a culture where the maids cut their hair, a culture where a ‘decent’ girl cutting her hair is like getting a tatoo. I see why they are thinking I’m crazy for cutting my hair.

But it’s my hair and it’s just hair and it’s going to grow back. I don’t understand why it should be seen as a traumatic experience when a girl cuts her hair. I’m not a tomboy and I wouldn’t call myself a girlie girl, everyone wants to put you in a box so they can understand you and when you are out of the box, you are called weird or crazy. Well, if that is the box you are going to put me in, make yourself happy, I’m just Amyn.

I don’t see the need to give explanations or excuses for anything I do, heck most of the the time I just do things and surprise myself. It’s a new year,I’m in a new country, I’m going to have new experiences and adventures, meet new people, all you have to do is love me with or without my hair, it won’t change me or my mind or my brain or anything. I’m gonna be still pretty if that’s your problem.

So what is the big deal,its just hair..