Thursday, June 19, 2008

Caring about what other people think

I may have talked about this before, but I think I will mention it again. Often I get questions or comments about my hair saying "Does your husband like it?" "What do the people at work say about your dreads?" "Man, I couldn't go [to church, the supermarket, some other public place] with my hair looking like that. People would look at me like I was crazy." "My mom tells me that she doesn't like locks, and that they're dirty, so I took them down." and I could go on and on.

Of course I am aware of possible perceptions of me because of the dreads. However, I'm not going to let those perceptions rule my life, I just keep them in mind, depending on my objectives of certain things in my life. For example, my job. I'm a software tester for a large computer company. I don't interact with customers. I just interact with other testers, developers, project managers, my management, etc. My look is not a part of my job there (I'm not a model, after all), so who cares what they think. Some people walk around in shorts in the summer (with their pale legs and varicose veins). These 40 something chicks trying to recapture their youth are in short skirts (which I think is a bit much). I know a dude there with a mohawk (yes, a mohawk). One biker dude wears entirely too tight jeans with his leather jackets. Combovers abound here. Bad perms and weird hair colors are not unknown. There is actually a girl that I always instant message, email or call instead of going to her office because her office actually stinks. And I'm supposed to be concerned because my hair is in freeform locks? No, I am not. When I see someone that looks a little different, I may laugh to myself, then do whatever work I have to do with them and/or keep it moving. And I'm sure others do the same with me. Now, if my look were somehow a part of my performance, that would be another thing (i.e. I'm a salesperson in HickTown USA, and I can't get any sales because people look at my hair, hold their nose, then slam the door in my face). But then again, I don't see myself working in that kind of job because control over my look is important to me. And when I have to search for a new job in the future, they're going to be seeing my hair in the interview because I want to know that they won't have a problem with it.

As far as my husband liking my hair or not, that's a funny thing, because I do want to feel attractive to him. Luckily, he likes my hair. Or maybe not so luckily, because when I met him, I had natural hair, and he told me that he loves natural hair, and wouldn't want it any other way. That's part of the reason I dated him in the first place. And while we dated, before we got married, I did different things with my hair (cornrows, twists, and even freeform locks) and he didn't have a problem with any of it. So I knew for sure that he wasn't blowing smoke when he said he loves natural hair. Natural hair is very important to me, so I chose someone that loves natural hair, so my hair isn't an issue in our relationship. Now, if I had a relaxer when we got married, then later decided that I wanted locks, then maybe we would have had an issue. Thankfully, that's not my situation.

Social situations are another time when people sometimes care. It's interesting. For me, my friends may not think it's the best hairstyle I've ever had (I've had compliments when I wore small twists or small box braids, but no compliments on my dreads). But they are still my friends. And it goes both ways. Two close friends I have here in New York have relaxers, and I still love them. I'm not saying nothing on anything I'm sure they did on purpose regarding their look. And if I'm at a party or something and some idiot I don't know turns up their nose at my hair, well I really don't want to be around them anyway. But then again, I'm not really a social person anyway, so I don't have to deal with that either.

And you know what? When I want a professional look, or don't want my hair to be distracting, I can do that with my hair. I think a headband ties my look together nicely. I can't wait until I can do 1 ponytail or a bun, because I think those are good looks as well. And if I'm in a situation where I really don't want so show my hair, there's always a headwrap (although I don't know what kind of situation that would be, and it hasn't happened to me yet).

I really have the feeling that I am in charge of how I look, and I'd be really resentful worrying all the time about what other people have to say about my appearance. That's not to say that I don't take pride in my appearance. I do. I groom myself, dress, etc. But I have the final say on how I want to look.


Here's an example about caring too much about what someone else thinks. I recently saw my mom. Why, oh why was I trying to hide my nose ring from her for the first hour? I was making sure she was on one side of me, and talking to her without looking at her. Ridiculous! First of all, I am 31 years old, and out of the house, with a husband and child of my own. Second of all, this is not the first piercing I've had, and I've done other things that I know she wouldn't care for (not going to church, tattoo on wrist, etc). The crazy thing is, I know she saw it, and she didn't even comment (she probably realizes by now that I go my own way).


prettybb said...

hey loc buddy! :-)

nice post...i also work in a very liberal can wear shorts, flip flops, purple hair...chicks up in here dress like they're going to the club, so i wish someone would dare pass opinion on me! lol

i'm glad you are secure in never know who's secretly admiring you and drawing from your strength and courage. i haven't received any real off-the-wall comments *yet*. my hair still pretty much looks like some old-behind twists that need to be redone...well, to me, anyway! lol i love your bushy makes your hair that much more beautiful and unique

btw, you should put that last line on a t-shirt ;D

aybee77 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
aybee77 said...

LOL @ people dressing like they're going to the club. You know, I haven't gotten any comments like, "your hair is ugly" or something like that, usually people ask questions, or say they don't have my gumption to do that. So you still know what they mean, lol.

Also, for me it's gotten easier to not care what other people think. I've grown up painfully shy, and still am, though I'm getting better. What's helping me break out of it is realizing that people in general are so absorbed in themselves, looking at / thinking about others is a distant second. When I remind myself of that, I do okay.

Morriss Marvel said...

I got to your blog from Tai's page and I have to say that you are truly an inspiration to me. I'm about 3 months+ into loc'n and I feel a lot more confident than I did when I first started. The take me or leave me attitude is what I have taken on also. Your locs look great. I'm little vain and sometimes want this polished look but I'm learning to love my locs in their true form. I want them to grow naturally and not through manipulation. Thanks...Great post

aybee77 said...

Thanks, morriss marvel, for visiting my blog, and for your nice comments. It definitely was a process for me, accepting my hair. And it's affected my attitude in general, not looking for acceptance so much from other people, although I have a long way to go.

I'm not usually vain like you say you are, but I have my moments (which may partially be why I twisted my hair, I'm trying to analyze it). It's good that you're learning to love them as they are, because I believe you can't control them completely. Good luck on your lock journey.