“Uuuuu  Uuuu Uuuu!” Ivy let out a shriek as she covered her mouth with both hands.

We were separated by a 6 inch mirror so I couldn’t quite understand what the stir was about and could not give a damn to say the least. My high school was full of unnecessary frantic and quite a lot of drama lordesses with minimal mortal beings. I was busy combing my hair for the third time to ensure all the edges were on point and sophisticated. I was so happy with the outcome I felt like a young Sia but less queer (see what I did there).

“There is pubic hair all over!”

Ivy had a way of putting the ‘s’ in heat and most of the time I would watch on as the drama ensued leading to meaningless talks. At times it ended up with extensive night conversations with girls on her bed, crying hysterically (typical culture of our high school).  

She had an approachable face; the type that was familiar but eludes you every time you try to remember where exactly you encountered her. She had a way of making you feel at home but at the end you’d end up realizing you are in a motel.

I let out a disdainful smile as I stared into the mirror debating whether or not to let the cat out of the bag (get it?). If I didn’t I would be summoned by the house mother on an account of being depressed or despaired, either way I would be the wrong ‘D’. If chose to tell her I would be popular for all the wrong and right reasons.

“Ivy, relax! It’s just my hair and not from where you think”

Rule number 1; public school flushing systems are not on the level, I don’t know how whites flush their phones. We had a problem flushing the things that the system was made for to begin with.

Boy oh boy it was about to get messy!

“Oooooh I was shook, you have such beautiful hair, why did you cut it?”

This is the dreary line of questioning I endured for the coming four weeks that almost landed me in depression.  Ctrl+ C then V was the order of the day from teachers, janitor and students from other houses and other classes. My connection with civilization severed greatly, I knew I was no Kylie Jenner but sis please…..

“You should flush it, it looks scary” she remarked as she looked for another bathroom before settling for pubiced-one.

“Oh yes, I swear that thought had not crossed my mind at all, thanks love” I said with a certain air of completion. My sarcasm levels were much elevated at that age and landed me in tight situations now that I look back. Of course I didn’t flush it.

If Ivy knows something, everyone knows something; it was the unwritten law of nature. It’s synonymous to how the lightning and thunder work; you can’t see one without hearing the other. Soon I was the talk of the whole house; third floor on the right side of the block had me trending that whole weekend.

Everything was just going left. My housemates will pass by the common area while peering to catch a glimpse of the girl who cut her hair. The daring ones would approach to seek counsel, I would tell them I was in an occult and it was a requirement.

This macabre sense of humor definitely did not favor me, soon enough the whole block knew there was an occultist who shaved her hair. I would hear the whispers while I passed by certain cliques and laugh away with my bedmate (kicheko ya kukejeli haswa)

Most of them never knew who I was since I was still a ‘mono’ and they would even ask me if I knew this ‘Sia’ character. Of course, I would give tales of how she chants at night and sometimes would disappear mysteriously. The stories went on for a few weeks until a lesbian couple was caught by the matron doing whatever lesbians do.

Fast forward to a few years down the line, my best friend (9yrs) tells me the same story of how I cut my hair in high school. She narrates the recurrent conversations that her roomettes had concerning the whole ’ordeal’. I laughed it off thinking of how I staged it too much. The young Veronica Mars’ (90s kids will know) concluded that I was depressed. (Slap on my head) I just couldn’t win. Yaani!

When I cut my hair this time, it was almost a similar experience. The people in my circle knew I wanted to cut my hair for the longest time or dye the whole of it red; it was a mystery to all of us when I would take the leap off the sharp edge.

I love risks; not merely enough to jump off a cliff or to drive so fast that my eye sockets bulge (mostly coz I can’t drive) but the type that lasts long. I don’t like a five minute adrenaline; I want it longer and uncomfortable for all. The type of thrill that lasts for weeks or even months its non invasive and I won’t be imprisoned for it.

I change my hair maximum four times in one month when I’m home, probably because I’m not the one to put food on the table. I have gone from black, to blonde to tangy orange and back to half blonde-half black. I have been Diana Ross, Ellie Ross and even tried out Ross from Friends’ hair late last year. I have been Kim K straight, Degeneres gay and Oprah slay in two months. I have had the mohwak, the Rubadiri and the bun; call me the oven because I am so feverishly hot.

My hair is an extension of my character; it’s the physical manifestation of where I am at in life and how I feel. I would change my hair and it would take me three days of complaints to my friends that I hate the look and four days of acceptance. I would then start walking around feeling like a celebrity. By the following week I would start acting like I got cancer. A big shout out to my hair stylist (Mutie_Kituma_Phd on Insatgram) for being so creative and executing my multiple personalities seamlessly.

Cutting my hair this year did not emerge from boredom that comes with long hair (I apologize to all the twigged hair women). This new pixie cut has a certain air of indifference. It’s deeper than just being fashionably relevant, I mean I don’t want to look like mini-Lupita Nyongo’s or should I say midi…mmmm….. Well and even if I did, it would be okay as well but highly misunderstood. Coming in such close contact with scissors did not happen overnight; it was almost like going through high school.

The four years marinated with struggle, thought, research and experimentation in order to land the best university. It took me a full 9 years to arrive at this decision once more and it has taken me two weeks to have my hair grow back to a point in which it can be plaited. Each time I change my hair; my face takes on a different demeanor and my character is inclined to be synonymous to it.

Be free

I believe there is so much to a woman that they shouldn’t be put in a box; you can be free to be who you want to be in any creative way. To some they opt for makeup, shoes, others clothes, others through books, some would rather cook; all these activities are an extension of our true selves.

There is no manuscript or written law stating the right way, so your way is your right way. You can sleep like Michelle Obama and wake up as Keke Palmer, and this is very acceptable to the panel. You can be Mona Lisa or Leornado, choose your ‘L’ as you please; at the end of the day, do what makes you content.

So whether you have dreadlocks, short hair, long hair, natural, horse hair, Bantu knots or we could trace you to Brazil, just know that you are perfect. Perfect in your very form as long as it comes from a deeper place and I don’t mean pubic. We are nature’s most sophisticated caprices, we are wild, we are beautiful and we are certainly ought to flush the toilet twice after shaving.

Be you.




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