I can’t even count how many times I have written and deleted this blog post. My desire to share the enormity of this experience with you all has kept me repeatedly trying. I can’t seem to find the words to express how the removal of almost a decade of memories and the crown of dreads that had become one of my defining features as a human has deeply impacted me. Then it occurred to me. It’s only enormous to me. The huge importance I had put on my hair was actually not important to anyone else at all. The hair is gone, and yes, there were tears. Maybe more than just a few, but… I am still Nikki.
If I could have kept them would have I? Yes. I loved them. Having them was the first time looking in the mirror I truly felt myself and I felt people truly saw me. Simply letting my hair be its own self was beautiful to me. The ritual of washing it brought me peace and forced me to take time to care for myself. They embodied a part of myself, they were the keeper of my strength, my memories and they were the antennae that helped me connect with the world and people around me.
Yesterday I felt like a butterfly that had gently bowed its head to allow its antennae to be cut off.
The weight of all that hair had started to create burden on my hair follicles and I had developed a condition called traction alopecia. The constant tugging and pulling was yanking my hair out to the point of baldness in patches and if I continued, the damage could become permanent. I am so grateful that my dear friend Kris, who happens to be a super star hair stylist that deeply cares for her clients, saw my injured scalp and intervened.
Yesterday Kris (with the help of a few dear friends) lovingly, kindly and respectfully cut off my dreads. We all shared some tears. We shared some laughs. We shared some food. It was a day of growth, transformation and gratitude. Of celebration and grief.
I didn’t lose my beauty. I didn’t lose myself. I found peace in who I truly am and realization that how I look has absolutely nothing to do with how people see me.