Elsie Acquah - now I know that I can be just as feminine and beautiful without it. Now I know that I am not my hair.
Tell us a bit about your decision to cut your hair or why you went bald?
I have dealt with people teasing me about my hair texture since I was a very young girl. I naturally have very thick, coarse, kinky hair (4C for those who understand hair types). The other little girls with long, straight hair would ask what was "wrong" with my hair and why it looked the way it did. I begged my mother to let me start relaxing/chemically straightening my hair in elementary school in an attempt to stop the teasing and to fit in with the other girls. I became absorbed in my hair, constantly wearing weaves and braids and applying heat and manipulation to keep my hair looking "good." That didn't stop the teasing because, even though my hair was straight, it still looked different.
Years of chemically altering my hair left it brittle and weak beyond repair. I decided that, in order to have healthy hair again, I would grow out my hair for a bit before cutting off all the straight ends. The fact that I didn't shed a single tear or feel even the slightest bit of regret when I cut my hair made me feel even better about my decision. Of course my family tried to put me down and asked why I would do something like that and that I "looked like a boy." That didn't do anything to discourage me because I just felt so good about it. In fact, I felt so good that I completely shaved my head two months later completely by choice. This only further mortified my family, but I felt so good that it still didn't matter to me. For nearly ten years I thought that my hair defined me and my femininity, but now I know that I can be just as feminine and beautiful without it. Now I know that I am not my hair.
Do you feel you've changed for the better since you went bald?
I do feel that I've changed for the better since going bald. Now that I don't spend hours on my hair I have more time for family, school and ME. Not to mention how much money I've saved not going into a salon constantly to maintain my hair.
What words of encouragement would you share with someone who isn't confident with themselves as you are?
Don't doubt yourself. Don't say things like "Oh I could never pull that off" or "I don't have the head/face for that" or "No way, I would just look like a boy." You don't have to look a certain way to pull off the bald look, it's all inclusive. I am in no way the most chiseled, perfect-headed female in the world, but here I am being bald and beautiful. Sure people will stare and make comments, but I guarantee you will feel so good that those stares and comments won't even deter you.
Finish this sentence: (My) Bald is Beautiful. Bold. ME.