It’s been 2 weeks since she and her husband spoke about her cutting her hair. What was supposed to be her coming out day, turned into the revelation that her husband was not ready to let go of her hair. HER! STUPID! HAIR!!
She slouched further down into the tub thinking to herself, “This just cannot be my life right now. What happened to us? Why is this happening to me?”
She softly sobbed, “Tomorrow is my freaking 40th birthday. Why can’t I be free?”
“I cannot believe how selfish he is being. I don’t care what he says. Do you hear me? I’m cutting my hair and you will just have to deal with it!”, she shouted at the bathroom door as she threw bubbles everywhere.
The morning finally arrived. She should be excited about her milestone birthday, the BIG 4-0. She didn’t have any plans to celebrate it, though. All last week, her girlfriends repeatedly called and texted her to let her know they were treating her to a day of shopping, then grabbing dinner and finally, going out to a concert. She told them she wasn’t feeling well – in theory, she wasn’t really lying. None of them knew what she was dealing with. All they knew was that she has the best weaves and wigs money could buy, but they didn’t know why she paid so much for them.
My wife a few months before she cut her hair completely bald.
She is so disconnected from this day, that she haphazardly gets dressed in her favorite sweatpants and a baggie t-shirt, grabs a bowl of chocolate cookie-dough ice cream and lies on the couch to catch up on Netflix. She is seemingly numb to her surroundings and wonders if she should have just stayed in bed today.
She sees her husband excitedly walk into the family room with his keys in his hand. She rolls over on her side to give the appearance that she dozed off. “Hey babe”, he says, as he walks closer to her to plop down next to her. “Let’s go get breakfast at your favorite spot to start off your birthday”.
She lets out a defeated sigh, rolls her eyes and reluctantly agrees. She is just not in the mood to explain why she really doesn’t want to go. She is not even remotely in the mood to celebrate her birthday. Despite her husband’s attempts to pump her up and get her thoughts on the idea of going out the house today, she could care less. The only thing she wants; he would never approve of.
After much begging from her husband, she acquiesces and goes upstairs to get dressed. She stands in the mirror and runs her fingers through what is left of her hair. Out of her drawer, she grabs a beautiful head-wrap she received from her best friend for her birthday. While standing in her closet and looking in the mirror, she feels the flood of tears fall as she ties it to cover her bald spots. She whispers to herself, “Next week, I won’t have to do this. I’m going to the barbershop on Monday.”
As they drive to the restaurant her husband tries to make small talk. She pretends to be interested and says the occasional, ‘uh huh and really?’. Feeling depressed, she presses her cheek to the cold passenger window and stares out. She finds herself engrossed in watching birds fly effortlessly up in the clouds. Her mind slowly drifts to thoughts of freedom from the world’s perception of beauty.
She didn’t notice the car slowing down and coming to a complete stop. She quickly snaps out of her trance of solitude to notice they are at his barber shop. She immediately freaks out and starts yelling at him. “Really? Are you really going to get a haircut right before my birthday breakfast? This is the most insensitive thing you could have ever done to me. You know this could have waited until another day. Thank you for officially ruining my 40th birthday! I will never forgive you!” She slams the door and starts walking away. She didn’t care where she went, she just knew she had to get away from him.
Her husband gets out of the car and runs to her. When he finally catches up to her, he is out of breath. She’s puzzled because sees that he has tears in his eyes. Then she sees he has a big smile on his face. He grabs her, holds her tight, kisses her on her forehead and says, ” No, baby. We are here for you. Happy Birthday!” In the middle of the parking lot, she finds herself standing there in shock. Her brain tries to process what he just said. Her tears begin to flow. He softly kisses her on her lips and gently grabs her hand. As they walk toward the barber shop door, he says, “I love more than anything and I want you to be free”.
The why behind She Wants to Be Free
My wife was diagnosed with Alopecia in 2010. She had locs that were in the center of her back but each day another one fell out. She went to the doctor to see if it was due to stress. She told me that the doctor said she she had alopecia and that she would be receiving shots, taking pills and undergoing numerous tests. She said did not want to do any of that and I immediately told her I had her back no matter what. When she decided to cut the remaining hair off, she said,“let’s go to the barbershop”. My reply was, “If this will make you happy, let’s go.” I knew it was a painful decision, so I was right there with her every step of way. She needed my support. To be honest, I did not have any insecurities because I knew in my heart that it was just hair.
Unfortunately, many men don’t see the women in their lives from the lens of compassion. Because of this, so many women suffer with hair-loss in silence. I’ve heard their stories, I’ve seen them cry.
I wrote She Wants to Be Free to help men embrace their wives’ or girlfriends’ decision to cut their hair and be free of drugs and wigs. I wrote this piece because I want to encourage women to have the courage to have a real conversation with the men in their lives. I wrote this piece because I want YOU to BE FREE.