How Much Does Your Hair Mean To You?

Hair is so much more than the strands attached to our scalps and hanging from our heads, which we cut, color, and style in a practically immeasurable variety of ways. That's the most basic view of hair, but really, our locks shapes our identities, our perception, our styles, and our experiences. I am particularly attached to my long hair, so I was beyond stoked to discover Hair: A Documentary that will explore the culture of hair and how it shapes our lives. While it's easy to say or think that "It's just hair," it really isn't. For me, hair isn't something I'd think about only if I lost it.

This is not a new subject, as Chris Rock's Good Hair doc explored the culture of hair and one's cultural relationship to hair in the African-American community, as well.

Hair: A Documentary examines the people who have explored their relationship with hair for a variety of reasons. The trailer spotlights the idea that so many people go through so many rituals, routines, regimens, processes, and procedures for our hair. We really do a lot of totally frivolous things to our strands, like attaching cute little charms to it, but, hey, if it makes us feel good about ourselves, why not?

A poignant question that the doc asks is this: Is your hair you or are you your hair? What an advanced, deep thought over something we dye, shave, cut, braid, and straighten.

We're all crazy about our hair in unique ways. I suffer from debilitating migraines and I take a prescription medicine called Imitrex to combat them and it's a miracle cure. But before I got on this med, I used to have this irrational fear that I had a brain tumor, since my headaches were so crippling in their intensity, always pulsated from the same spot, often put me out of commission for two days, and I suffered from them for years, so much so that I termed them "The Two-Day Skullache."

Of course, my friends and family warned me of the errors of my ways and about my pseudo-self-diagnosis, and I did go to a doctor to try to relieve my headache suffering. But I still read up about brain tumors, a topic of which I remain super fascinated about and read about. Yes, I even watched Charles Trippy's live-vlogged brain surgery and I recall reading a story about someone who shaved their head for such a surgery and after chemotherapy, their hair grew in different, texture-wise. I remember that being a very vain, and very real, fear to me. At the end of the day, survival and regaining quality of life and motor skills is the most important thing to consider. But I'd be lying if I said I didn't think how I would feel about myself and my hair if I ever found myself in that sitch.

It got me thinking about why I am so attached to hair and I've come up five quite simple reasons.

But first, watch the documentary trailer.

1. Hair Defines Your Personal Style

In my life, I have been dark brown, mahogany purple, orange-red, chocolate brown, permed in grade school, straight, long, an extensions wearer, and briefly bobbed. My hair expresses my personal style. Without it, a key visual element would be missing.

2. It's Part Of Your Daily Routine

I spend 15 minutes blowdrying my hair every morning. That's a significant chunk of my "getting ready" routine. Still, I wouldn't ditch it in the interest of saving time. There's something about the ritual that gives me a confidence boost at the beginning of the day.

3. It Actually Is Just Hair

At first, I was like, no, it's not just hair. It's everything. But because it is just hair, you can shave it, chop it, color it, and it will come back.

4. It's Malleable

Most elements of your physical look cannot be changed without some seriously expensive or invasive, elective surgery or procedures. Hate your nose? You can get rhinoplasty. Not loving the shape you're in? You can get start a serious exercise plan. Hate your eye color? You can be like T.I'.s wife and get a surgical color change. Want long pink locks? Extensions are readily available. The point is that you can freely make that choice, but at a major hit to your wallet and often with a recovery period. With hair, even a higher-end $300 cut and color is pretty cheap by comparison.

5. It Is Linked To So Many Senses

Hair is linked to so many senses for me. Shampoo and styling product smells remind me of my childhood and having long, virgin hair. When I hug someone, I usually whiff their hair. It feels good when someone else rakes a brush or even their hands through my hair. It is connected to both sight, scent, and touch, which makes it distinctly connected to many memories.

So, is it just hair and how much does it define you?

Images: YouTube (1); Giphy (6)