“Dude, it’s up to you”

“Dude, it’s up to you! It’s not my hair, it’s yours”, said my brother.

Okay, let’s just ignore the fact that my brother calls me “dude”, which I am not, and get straight to the point.

I could have never imagined that someday I would start a blog and that my first post (or, as I will call it, “note”, because I plan to post some fiction too) would be about my hair.

As a matter of fact, this is the first time I actually think about my hair in fourteen years.

Shocking? For some people, yes, this is shocking. Hair is not a bunch of meaningless cells. It is, for most, a part of their personality, an important feature of their being.To others, it means style.

To me, hair has always meant trouble and pain. (That’s why I avoided thinking about it).

When I was little, my mother would keep it short. Curly as it is (or was), I felt like a little angel, I loved it and I was never aware of it, of what it looked like to other people. It was my hair and it was beautiful. Life was incredibly easy.

Then, one day, the whole world changed for me. My so-loved hair became a reason to feel bad about myself, to feel shame and embarrassment. I was five years old when that happened.

I had just arrived at school. At that time, the kids would form two queues before entering the classroom – one for boys and one for girls. Why? I still don’t know. All I know is that I got kicked out of the girls queue because, according to them, “I looked like a boy”.

It felt horrible.

Not because I think looking like a boy is bad. I don’t. It isn’t, at all. At that time, I already thought that. But being kicked out of anything because of how you look is terrible. As a five-year-old, I felt ashamed of myself. I felt that, if I kept looking like that, people would never like me. The girls, specially. So I decided to change.

I let my hair grow. And I got it straightened.

It hurt twice. First, because of my scalp, which I discovered to be quite sensitive. Second, because of my soul. I was changing not for myself, but for others. I was doing what they thought was right for me. But how could I fight it?

So I started ‘looking like a girl’. However, people still treated me badly. I had ‘friends’, but for them I wasn’t the right person to hang out with after school. I had other classmates, who only spoke to me if we had to work together for a project. I was almost totally alone.

As I got to university, I finally found people who like me for me and began to develop this ideia: no matter what my hair looks like, we’ll still be friends! And I thought “What if I got it cut? What if it gets curly again, as I used to love it?”

I asked my brother his opinion. “Dude, it’s up to you”, he said. And he’s right. It’s up to me and only me.

And I am so happy I finally know that.