Cutting Ties: How My Barber Cut Helped Me Embrace My True Self

The moment I saw myself in the mirror I knew I made the right choice. I am enough as I am.
Britney Jeanine
Affectionately known as The Pivot Queen (or The Pivot Pusher), Britney Jeanine is a wife, mom of two, and a creative entrepreneur for 15+ years.

When I was growing up, straight hair was always the way. This belief seeped into my life in ways I didn’t fully realize until much later. From my grandmother to my mother, I had always seen straightened, relaxed hair as the standard. Honestly, it was the one thing I thought would make me acceptable. 

To all the 80s and 90s kids—let’s not forget…

Those long salon visits.

The burning sensation of relaxers on our scalps.

The smell of the chemicals permeating the air—it was all part of the process to “tame” our hair, to make it conform to a standard that society had set for us.

I can remember every family gathering, every important event, every job interview — I had to ensure my hair was “done.” To me, that meant straight, smooth, and sleek.

As I write this article, I am even reminded that when I first entered corporate America, the pressure to conform to a certain standard of beauty intensified. I vividly remember the moments before job interviews, where I would painstakingly take out my braids, detangle, straighten, and style my hair to fit into the narrow box of acceptability. 

Sound familiar?

But deep down, I knew I was hiding more than just my hair — I was hiding my identity. Wearing wigs and straightening my hair felt like putting on a mask (or hat, lol), concealing the real me because I feared rejection.

As I grew older, the disconnect between my outer appearance and inner self became too much. I started to question why I was going to such lengths to fit into a mold that wasn’t designed for me. The more I read about the natural hair movement and the history of hair in Black culture, the more I realized that my hair was a powerful symbol of my identity and heritage.

Photo by Jessica Felicio on Unsplash

Then came the moment that changed everything. My heart was pounding as my aunt took me to get my first barber cut. As I sat in the barber’s chair, I felt a mixture of excitement and fear. Would I look less feminine? Would people take me seriously? But as the clippers buzzed and my hair fell to the ground, I felt an overwhelming sense of liberation.

Photo by Eye for Ebony on Unsplash

The moment I saw myself in the mirror with my new cut, I knew I had made the right choice. I was no longer trying to fit into someone else’s idea of beauty. I was embracing my natural self with all its textures and curls. It was a powerful statement, not just to the world, but to myself: I am enough as I am.

Cutting my hair wasn’t just about a change in appearance; it was about reclaiming my identity and rejecting the pressures to conform (plus, those relaxers had your girl’s hair falling straight out). Overall, though, it was a journey of self-acceptance, and with each passing day, I felt more comfortable in my skin, no longer willing to hide behind the mask of conformity nor under a wig, respectfully.

The Author

Now, I wear my hair with pride, knowing that it reflects who I truly am. I no longer straighten it for acceptance or hide it under wigs. I am unapologetically me, and I hope my story inspires others to embrace their true selves, no matter what that looks like. Because, at the end of the day, the most beautiful thing you can be is yourself.