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Professional Hairstyles: Why I Wear My Natural Hair to Work

When I initially did my big chop, I didn’t chop everything off. I still wanted to be able to tie my hair in a pony tail and wasn’t sure I could rock the Erykah Badu afro. So, for the past year (2017) I’ve trimmed off a few inches every other month; trying to get rid of the heat damage I caused. I decided it was time to let go of the stragglers and chop the rest of the damage hair off. This article is not really about my second big chop but about the decision I made to rock my new look at work and the mental battle I had before making that decision.

I’ve always loved long hair and consider it to be sexy. I would like to think I’m open minded and that I have a solid understanding that there is not one type of beauty. On my hair wash day, I was fed up and decided to cut the rest of the damage hair I was so desperately holding onto. Like usual I cleaned around the house, while letting my hair air dry. Then something happened while I was looking in the mirror, I consider rocking my afro to work. So, to a large proportion of the world, this may seem like a simple decision. It took me 30 minutes to convince myself not to sleek my hair into a ponytail and follow the guideline of what’s consider a professional appearance.

As I enter onto the freeway, I have no choice but to commit to the new hair style. The thirty minutes’ drive consisted of me checking my mirror repeatedly and questioning my decision to rock the afro. To my surprise my co-workers, supervisors and guests all seemed to love the new look. I think they might be fonder of it than I. All that fussing, delaying because I was worried that my hair would be consider unprofessional, not sexy, wild, untamed and most importantly nappy. The question I have is why I mentally struggled with the idea of rocking my own natural hair, in its natural state. Could the media really be creating unintended messages, that beauty only looks a certain way? Does the workforce consider my natural hair offensive? If I didn’t have the support of my peers, would I have rocked my afro the next day?

I learned a lot that day and grew to appreciate my natural hair a little more. As everyone marveled at my curls with eyes of curiosity, I realized my hair is a part of me. If employers determine my potential abilities on my hair style, then frankly that’s a company I don’t want to work for. Whether it’s an afro, deadlocks, weaves, braids, ultimately its just hair and we should feel comfortable wearing a style that reflects who we are. Company policies should encourage individuality and avoid cookie cutter guidelines that restrict employee’s autonym. I just want to thank everyone that showed me support and encourage people to feel comfortable in their own skin; or should I say hair.

P.S. Memo to all Human Resource: Please make sure your policy is not offensive to my natural hair.

Thank you

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