Don’t let a fixation on length ruin your natural hair journey……
Most of us have experienced the longest hair we have ever had since going natural. We have dispelled the myth that afro-textured hair doesn’t grow. In the natural hair community, you will see women at different stages of their hair journey. From TWAs (teeny-weeny afros) to waist length hair, the different textures and styles of black hair are all beautifully unique. However, is the initial excitement of going natural being tainted by an anxiety over length? I’ve heard some women say they are not too concerned about length, they simply want healthy hair. Most however, talk about wanting long hair. Healthy hair grows at a regular and steady rate, so if your hair is healthy there is no reason for it not to grow. However, one factor that must be considered is terminal length.
Do not get disheartened when you see a YouTube vlogger reaching a certain length in record time. Don’t compare yourself to them and become discouraged. It took me over four years to reach BSL (Bra strap length), when some YouTube vloggers appeared to reach that in two to three years after their big chop. Regardless of how long it takes for your hair to reach a certain length, once it is longer than it has ever been you have achieved an awesome goal. I’ve watched some vloggers get criticized for not reaching certain lengths within a certain period of time. This is despite their hair being longer than it has ever been.
Many of us regarded shoulder length hair as long when our hair was permed. Now that we are natural, we regard armpit length as short! Are we not too hard on ourselves when it comes to length? After all, armpit length hair is just as long, if not longer, than the average hair length of Caucasian women. You only have to look around you to see that. In the natural hair community we have demonstrated that black hair can grow just as long as any other type of hair. However, because some of our favorite YouTube vloggers are waist length, we decide that armpit length isn’t long enough. We fail to consider that some of these ‘waist length’ vloggers have been natural for 5 to 8 years. Do not consider yourself a failure for not reaching waist length. We must move on, from growing hair just for the sake of pulling it down our back for a length check.
Some of us look better with short hair or may have a preference for short hair. Let us not make each other anxious about cutting our hair. Many fear being judged for not reaching a certain length, after a certain number of years. Women who have cut their hair may feel the need to give a disclaimer when asked how long they have been natural. Remember, afro-textured hair shrinks, and your true length isn’t really evident until it is pulled down or straightened. I have been asked numerous times if I have cut my hair by people who do not understand shrinkage. Perhaps the fixation on length is more to do with what other people think or it may be a need to prove to ourselves that our hair can grow long. This is understandable but don’t be afraid to be be versatile with length.
Check out CharyJ’s video below, where she discuses her second big chop
Women of other races can cut their hair whenever they please. Then, they can grow it back relatively quickly, when they decide to do so. Well guess what? Black women can do the same. With the knowledge we have acquired about our hair, most of the length struggles we experienced with relaxed hair will no longer exist.
So let us celebrate hair of all lengths, textures and styles. A TWA can be just as beautiful as waist length hair. A tapered or diva cut can be edgy and stylish. We need not only experience short hair once in our natural hair journey.
Do you think there is an obsession with length within the natural hair community? Or have we now moved on from that? Share your thoughts below.