Remember that selfie I posted on Instagram 7 weeks ago where I said I was loving the new cut and colour I just got?
I have to confess: not all of the hair there is real. That's right. That day, I got extensions sewn in (I wore clip-in extensions a few times before that to "test the waters").
Why? Years ago, I dyed my natural hair blonde. That was a mistake. The bleach damaged my hair to an extent beyond saving. Along with all the blow drying and flat ironing I do, my hair just refused to grow any longer than a few inches past my shoulders. For me, this was frustrating. I had always dreamed of having long flowing hair past my chest. But, the only way for me to grow my hair and ever have a chance of it being that long naturally, was by cutting it.
So, I did. I cut a good three to four inches off my just-past-my-shoulders length hair. What followed was panic and insecurity. I'm convinced - thanks to a traumatic childhood memory of me with short hair - that with short hair, I look like a boy.
That's why I did the next best thing: I got extensions sewn in. The extensions masked the fact that my natural hair just touched my shoulders. On top of that, I got the long flowing lengthy hair I'd always dreamed of.
Having extensions was an experience, to say the least.
I loved the way my hair looked but I couldn't help remind myself that my hair wasn't natural. After a while, I started to feel ashamed. I shouldn't have to have someone else's hair sewn into my own just to make me feel good about myself. There's nothing wrong with short hair! Heck, there's nothing wrong with having no hair either! I had let myself get brought down by social media's distorted portrayal of "beauty." I became so embarrassed about the extensions that I only told my close friends that I had them. When anyone else told me they noticed something different about my hair, I'd just tell them I got it coloured (which was partly true).
Granted, that selfie is probably my favourite selfie of me taken to date. The extra hair did give me a confidence boost - and a lesson - so it wasn't all bad. Would I do it again though? No. Would I clip in extensions from time to time (like for photo shoots)? Maybe. I'd wear extra makeup for a photo shoot but I wouldn't get permanent makeup done to my face. To me, it's almost the same idea.
|Left: With extensions|