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*Photo via The Anderson Cooper Show

I had an “interesting” conversation with my father yesterday. Since I left my job in October, he’s become the unofficial manager of my multi-hyphenated career, a self-appointed role he took on after he retired. I enjoy his insight and our light-hearted daily talks as I remember a time where there was a great chasm between us. But over the years, we settled into a very adult-like agreement to disagree, even if I’m honest, we’ve been walking on clichéd eggshells trying to avoid each other’s minefields.

We were doing so well until, an act of seeming betrayal to all we’d rebuilt, he re-declared our war. “It’s your hair that’s holding you back,” he told me yesterday. This was a fact, not an opinion. “You won’t go where you want to go with hair like that.”

Me: Blink. Blink. “What?!”

The “that” he refers to is the tangled fluffy faux-‘fro I weaved in last month. After three years with a perm, I confidently shaved my head (and dyed it platinum blonde) in September to start anew. I did it the weekend I made the final decision to resign from my job and strike out on my own and I lovingly referred to my new look as my “Freedom ‘Fro.” I loved it. He didn’t like it, of that I was sure. But he didn’t have anything nice to say, so he didn’t comment. I respected and appreciated his silence.

By February it had grown significantly and reached a length I found unflattering to my face. Straightening it wasn’t an option for me, neither was braiding it or cutting it. So I went online in search of a batch of hair close-enough to the texture that grows out of my head and added that, since it was the look I was eventually going for anyway.  For me, it solved a dilemma. For him, it was the re-emergence of an old issue, one for which he could no longer hold his tongue.

In our most recent conversation, he referred to my high school graduation photo, the one he carries in his wallet, as my best look, the one I should return to. He seems to have selective amnesia about telling me how that cut broke his heart.

“Why would you cut off all your beautiful hair?” he asked then, near tears.

I didn’t get it. It’s hair. It grows back. And if it doesn’t, I could always weave it up.

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56 Comments

  1. Hi Adrianne:

    I did not intend for my picture to accompany the story. I didn’t submit one with my story and the picture is not included on my website or my social media. I didn’t do so particularly because I didn’t want to read posts deconstructing my look. I’m good with what I do, who I am. And I totally respect that you don’t like my look or get it. No harm, no foul.

    Really I just wanted to tap into that feeling that a lot of women have when they don’t meet the approval of someone whose approval they want– whether about hair of another topic– and share my story of finding self-acceptance in the midst of that. But you couldn’t have known that and I do get how you could conclude that I was looking for a literal dressing down.

    I’m a blogger, author and media personality. My “workplace” is either my living room where I do most of my writing, or a stage when I’m speaking/promoting my book or sharing my opinion on the topic of the day. My co-workers are TV hosts and my supervisors (in a sense) are publicists, managers, event planners and producers. I do not seek to work in an office, and when I did, I wasn’t up for one that didn’t get me in all of my glory. Luckily, I found several that did– that not only liked the extra I brought, but celebrated it.

    The idea of looking “elegant” and “classic” or “corporate” makes me shudder, though as you suggest, when I do primetime TV on HLN or CNN, I do tone it down some by adding a ruffled sweater, but never, ever, ever would I wear flats. I proudly don’t own a blazer (or a suit, talk about something that was never made for my body type!) Showing up and making a statement is literally and figuratively what pays my bills— and what landed me at the event where the photograph is taken, daytime TV.

    I consume fashion mags. My motto is “High hair! High heels! High boobs!” I find ruffles and lace joyous, and big ol’ wide stripes, too! My legs are one of my best assets; I show them as often as I can. If you have a similar body type, I implore you to find the freedom to get free too, even if it’s only the weekend. :-)

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    • adriane

      Hi Belle,

      Thanks for your free-spirited reply! You do look vivacious and sexy, that is for sure. And your hair is big and beautiful; so the photo does serve you well to showcase your hair and va va voom style. When I went natural, I did a big chop, many years ago, after “fooling” everyone through a decade of texturizers and silkeners. My father is from the old school, and he couldn’t even bear to look at my curly little TWA. When he saw me for the first time go from burned out waist length waves from a texturizer to a scalp revealing mini-fro, he nearly cried. So I get it. With that being said, my hair grew out (huge) and now all is well. And while your look is not “corporate” or “classic,” clearly it serves you well and you look gorgeous. Good luck to you!

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