My name is Miranda Smyre and I’m a Digital Sales Planner for Juice Mobile. I’m African-American. I’m a Black American woman. Everyone always asks me “What are you mixed with?” “Are you Latina, are you Hawaiian?” I’ve gotten Caribbean, too. They’re always like, “You’re not all the way Black, and I’m like “Yeah, I am”. I think it’s more of shock. They’re like, “Oh my God, no!” and I’m like “Yeah!” I don’t know what else to say, I am 100% black and they’re like, “That can’t be, you have this type of hair and I’m like “Well, this hair is permed!”
Sometimes, in a way, I feel like…I don’t want to say disrespected, but it’s like, Black women can’t be pretty? We can’t have long hair? Like, is that what you’re trying to tell me? Sometimes I feel a certain way about it, but I just kind of brush it off and keep it moving.
Funny enough it is usually by Black men. Like they’ll say “Oh, what are you, mixed with?” and I’ll tell them I’m Black American. Black women will look at me like “What you got in you?” and I’ll be like “What are you saying!” It’s very annoying because it’s like why can’t I just be an African American girl?
But, that’s what you see in the videos and in media. You’ll see like that typical light skin, long hair girl and a lot of that stuff isn’t even real. Obviously they’ve done a bunch of touch ups to the skin, or they’ve had procedures where their bodies are not real, so it’s like you look at this whole image in society, and you’re like, “I guess I have to live up to that”. A lot of brown girls are trying to fit that mold, or fit that image and its unfortunate because I feel like we really are beautiful people. But I guess it’s a maturity thing too. As you get older, you really start to become aware of who you are, and I think it just really boils down to confidence in who you are as a person.
I’ve always had long hair since a little girl. I remember my mother would braid my hair and put it up in ponytails and barrettes. My hair has been permed since I was 8 or 9 years old (I know, so young). And I used to get made fun of all the time in elementary school and stuff. People would say “Your hair is fake” and they thought I thought I was all that and the whole nine. My hair was at its peak from 8th grade to high school. I had wanted it to be a certain way and a certain length and I had got it. I was just really proud of my hair.
When I went to college, I got teased again. Honestly, there was a girl that tried to cut my hair off. She was my roommate’s friend, and she came into my room as I was sleeping and I heard the scissors and I woke up out of my sleep. She had my hair in her hand was getting ready to cut my hair.
ON DECIDING TO CUT HER HAIR SUPER SHORT
Ironically, it wasn’t because of those girls that teased me. The college teasing was around 2005. I decided to cut my hair in 2009. I cut my hair like the Halle Berry cut. It was mainly because I wanted a change; it had nothing to do with any body. I wanted to see how liberated I would feel. I went to the hair salon and my stylist asked me five times if I wanted her to cut my hair and I was like “Cut it”!
Snip. All my hair was on the floor.
Afterwards, I cried. But I cried because it was such a big change. And this is what I wanted. She cut my hair like the old Rihanna style, like when she had the tapered sides and the little swoop. I looked in the mirror and I almost fell to the floor because I was so over the moon with it. As time went on, I ended up just cutting it shorter and shorter until I really went short. I think the shortest I went was about an inch. Then I realized I want to grow it back out. So now I’m in this weird stage where I’m just growing it out. This length is growing on me.
I feel like my hair journey has been interesting because I’ve been short, long-short, and now I’m just in between. I feel now that I’ve gotten out of that “I’m going to have long hair forever” phase, I feel more liberated. I’m not as scared as I was. I’m not safe anymore. Which is good because once we break out of that shell, we can pretty much do anything.