Monday, July 4, 2022

I Am Not My Hair: The Journal of Steffanie Rivers | WATCH

*For the past two years I’ve shaved my hair and I’ve worn my bald head in public. I’ve gotten compliments from men and women who tell me it’s a look that not just anybody can pull off. So I’m glad it’s worked out in my favor. Although most people applaud my decision to have the confidence to wear a bald head in public, only a few people have asked me why I decided to do it, especially since most women consider their hair to be a major part of their positive self-image. (Click on the video above for more details or keep reading below).

I understand that viewpoint and have felt that way about my hair in the past. Yet, at some point, I realized for me the length of my hair and the styles I had chosen were more about assimilation and acceptance in my professional life more so than what was healthier for me personally. I was chosen to fit into a mainstream standard rather than to do what was better for me. To move towards what worked best for me, in 2010 I stopped using relaxers in my hair and started to live the words of India Arie: ‘I am not my hair, I am not my skin. I am the soul that lives within!’

When I didn’t want to showcase my permless hair occasionally I wore wigs. That had been my norm for ten years until the 2020 pandemic and the modern-day lynching of George Floyd. Although there always have been racially-motivated murders before Floyd, including the murders of Elijah McClain and Breonna Taylor by cops and Amaud Arbery by wanna be cops just to name a few, it was the harsh reality of these murders in the past two years that confirmed for me some people are never going to accept me or people who look like me regardless of what we do to fit in. Some people will never treat me or people who look like me humanely regardless of how non-threatening we present ourselves. No matter how many educational degrees I have, no matter how much money I earn, those people still will consider me and everyone who looks like me beneath them. 

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Black Hair Care - Unsplash
Black Hair Care – Unsplash

That’s when I decided to stop trying to fit an acceptable image of how I should wear my hair. I decided to stop wasting my time and money and energy trying to appear more visually acceptable to people who don’t accept me and probably never will no matter what I do. 

I also realized maybe GOD is waiting for me and people who look like me to embrace our uniqueness inside and out before he reveals to us as a group of people and to ourselves as individuals where our focus should be, where I should be financially, geographically and the people I should surround myself with. 

I know some people don’t agree, and others who might agree are not ready to take steps to their self-actualization. What might be obvious to me might not be to others and Vice versa. But this is not just about me. I’m sharing my hair journey, because maybe you, too, have come to see people around you in a different light or had spiritual awakenings about your life.

Take this last week of this year to decide how you want to show up in your world. Decide if the people you’ve been stressing yourself to please are really worth it. If they’re not, stop wasting valuable time and money trying to please people who will never accept you when your money and time could be better spent on worthwhile pursuits. It’s not just about you or me. It’s about the next generation.

Steffanie Rivers
Steffanie Rivers

Steffanie Rivers is a freelance journalist living in the Dallas-Ft. Worth metroplex. Email her at info@SteffanieRivers.com with your comments, questions and speaking inquiries. Follow her @tcbstef on Instagram and Twitter.

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