Every 2-3 months I find myself pulling at pieces of hair on each side of my head to check my hair growth. After this month’s routine length check I began to ponder why I even did it. I hadn’t thought of such a thing until I saw women on youtube doing it. I actually think it became more important when I began to learn how to take care of my hair and I started to see growth. I feel a bit narcissistic about monitoring my hair growth, but at the same time I correlate healthy hair with hair growth. I think that if hair is healthy it will inevitably grow.
My hair has doubled in length since this time last year and that excites me. I’m almost ashamed to say that I have a hair length goal, but I do (shoulder length when in its most unmanipulated state, I guess afro state, like the picture above). But why should I be ashamed of this? Some may say that the desire for longer hair is conforming to societal standards of beauty. But that’s not the reason that I anticipate hair growth. Hec, I just want to be able to throw my hair in a ponytail or bun and go and not have to worry about styling it everyday. I think that short hair looks good on me too, but I feel that fuller, longer hair is more becoming of my face shape.
I certainly do not think that hair growth or longer hair is a desire unique to black women or black women with natural hair. I’m also quite sure that there is great variation in reasons for wanting longer hair. However, it seems that hair growth tends to be a little slower among many black women compared to women of other racial/ethnic groups. Now, this is not to say that black women’s hair does not or cannot grow long. It can and it does. When hair growth is discussed in black natural hair blogs, forums, and websites there always seems to be a few people who call those mindful of hair growth “length obsessed” or somehow not happy with who they are and wanting to be like someone else. Why does it have to be like that? Why is there contention over the desire for black (natural) women to want longer hair? Especially when no one bats an eye when women of other groups seek the same thing.
I don’t feel that I’m obsessed with hair length, but I’m certainly focused on maintaining healthy hair, which I feel is key to hair growth. Having a hair goal does not mean that I am unhappy with the current length of my hair or the length of my hair in the past. I love my hair. I take each stage in stride. There are some things about shorter hair that I really like, and that I’m sure will change when my hair gets longer (i.e., the time it takes to detangle, wash, and style, the cute curly bob). I want my hair to grow and transform over time like the rest of my life and myself…and I’m not ashamed of it.