"By taking away the focus from my hair, I essentially found my voice."
On January 21, 2014, I decided to create a hairstrike.
I made the decision after a quick thought because I already knew my intent and reasoning would supersede any “perfect hair” obligations that I may have within the month (i.e. Valentine’s Day, Curls & Cocktails event, etc.). I created the name, the hashtag, and posted my reasoning along with the details of this exercise.
One month, hair pulled back, removing the focus from this external part of me that has received a lot of love, admiration, and a social media following. I thought about the power of influence we have through social media and I wanted to put it to the test. I thought about the comments from women that went beyond complimentary, to a state of obsession or despair. It’s very important that people understand I’m not anti-loving your hair! In fact, I design t-shirts promoting curly hair love! It took me a long time to love my hair, so I understand its importance. I wanted to do this exercise for women who needed to know that it’s amazing that our hair texture is currently being glorified and praised, but we are so much more than our hair and we can’t let it consume us. While I hoped that this exercise would speak to a few, the reaction exceeded my expectations.
I read numerous comments from women sharing their insecurities, from women who were self-conscious about their large foreheads to those who suffered from hair loss due to cancer and other conditions. This exercise that was created to inspire others also inspired me. Shortly after my first hairstrike post, I created a video on my YouTube channel that had nothing to do with hair, beauty, or fashion. This was the first time I opened up to share my voice on my public platform. When I put myself out there by creating this hairstrike, I realized that I had a voice that was more than what I had been sharing in the past. By taking away the focus from my hair, I essentially found my voice. It’s important to love all parts of you but it’s easy to let certain parts take the backseat when you are receiving so much praise for others. Who doesn’t love compliments?
I applaud anyone who tried the hairstrike for whatever reason they participated. For some, they were tired of the time put into their hair. They wanted some of their life back! For others, it was about feeling beautiful despite their insecurities. Most of the reaction from the movement was positive and it has been inspiring to hear what it has taught different women along the way.
For those that wonder why the focus is on hair, hair has always been a strong symbol for beauty amongst women. To say it doesn’t hold power would be completely false. Many women with long hair who choose to big chop receive countless comments from people saying they are “wasting” all of their long hair. Other spectators begin to question their sexual orientation. Those who suffer from hair loss due to medical reasons often share stories about feeling like they lost a major part of their identity and how they didn’t feel beautiful anymore. There are many with countless photos of other women on their cell phones with hair that they aspire to have, even when they know deep down that they don't have the same hair texture. I think of all of these women during this strike; the ones that are battling their insecurities and those who are in denial of their insecurities. We’re all insecure. Kanye was just the first to admit it! We can have a joke break right? lol
I put the exercise out there for those who wanted to participate or share their stories and when I saw that Curls and Cocktails hostess, Kenya from HalfieTruths, had jumped on board, I was thrilled because I knew it would send a great message to her followers. I mean, have you seen her big gorgeous hair?
We all want to feel beautiful. Looking beautiful is a matter of perception, but feeling beautiful is a matter of the heart, mind, and soul. As I mentioned in my initial Instagram post, the hair masks and deep conditioners that we invest in are great but deep conditioning the mind always produces the healthiest results. Sometimes you have to test yourself to find meaning and deeper understanding. All our exterior attributes that are fun to play with are merely superficial. Wearing my hair in a bun for a month probably sounds silly to some people, but it’s not for everyone. It’s for those that need to understand the message. It can be hard to see past our vanity, but if you take back some control, you may discover a beauty in yourself that no mirror could ever reflect.
To see images and posts relating to the hairstrike you can check out my Instagram and the hashtag #hairstrike2014