All my life I’ve had to fight…
…my hair that is. The text in Frida Kahlo’s 1940 “Autorretrato con pelo corto” (self-potrait with short hair) reads “Mira que si te quise, fué por el pelo, Ahora que estás pelona, ya no te quiero,” (Look, if I loved you it was because of your hair. Now that you are without hair, I don’t love you anymore.). Frida zoned in on a concept that still holds true today: Long hair has long been perceived as a marker of beauty, and mass media has capitalized on this in order to sell us products we may or may not need.
I cut my hair short the night before my first day of college (ten years ago this week!) and showed up to school with short, tight curls above my chin line. When my hair grew to the middle of my back by the end of the year, I remember someone told me to never cut my hair again because it looked so much better long. She was someone who was stylish and on-trend, so I think I subconsciously took her advice to heart. It wasn’t till years later that it occurred to me that she may have been projecting beliefs that she’d internalized based on a societal norm. Even so, I still kept my hair long, and it was always incredibly difficult to restore my curls.
I was lucky enough to be a part of the #RizosontheRoad Los Angeles team, and they wanted to make sure everyone’s curls were on point. “Ashley, you need a haircut,” I was told in so many words. Granted, I knew I needed a haircut, but I didn’t know I needed short hair. As it turns out, my long hair was making it hard for my hair to coil because it was too heavy with the combination of my hair texture and curl type.
People, I still have curly hair. Above, you see my long hair struggling to find its way. Below, you see my curls happy to be revived and alive. This is just one day after the haircut, after my hair had the night to dry while I slept. I like to think that Frida would be happy to hear that short hair AND curly hair are carving their own space in the realm of beautiful.
Thank you to Ona Diaz-Santin for being such a hair saint and to the #RizosontheRoad team for making sure I stopped looking like a 12-year old. Now my hair boings. Bless up.