My parents hated my Mohawk and the subsequent variations that came afterwards.
After trying to please them while being pregnant, I grew my hair out. But in an emotional fit 4 days before giving birth to my son, I shaved it into the only hairstyle I truly felt myself with: the Mohawk.
Looking back at pictures of my son’s birth, I began to appreciate the true beauty of it. I was alone, a single mother giving birth to my awesome offbeat baby.
I first shaved my head when I was 19. Sinead O’Connor style. I was tired of being seen as just a pretty face and needed some reason to truly find who I was. I wanted to see who was under the layers of hair I had been hiding under for YEARS.
I lopped off my shoulder length hair, donated it to Locks of Love and felt liberated and free and just wonderful. I was one step closer to self discovery, as cliché as that may sound.
The first time my mother saw me she stared and then nearly cried. My father just shook his head and walked away.
I wore scarves, hats and hoodies whenever I went to visit my parents. It made them more comfortable and didn’t provoke any ‘has my daughter lost her mind’ conversations.
My hair eventually evolved into a Mohawk which I happily accepted as a part of who I am. Doing my hair was the easiest part of my morning routine and I loved it. I started focusing less on my looks and more on the person within.
I was artistic, I was friendly and all of a sudden, I was going to be a mother.
I tried growing my hair before Kyler’s birth to try to fit in with all the other soccer moms, but the conservative look just didn’t match the random tattoos I had lingering everywhere on my body. Robots, stars and a pineapple. That kinda ink just doesn’t go with polo shirts and a mini-van.
So days before I was due I went to get my haircut into a Mohawk. I remember waddling out of the hair salon feeling refreshed, confident and like myself. Kyler was born three days later with a full head of hair.
One day, Kyler and I were laying on the couch together and he ran his fingers through the shaved part of my hair, laughing because it was tickling his hand. I dubbed him offbeat right then and there and shaved him a Mohawk too!
We matched and it was perfect. It wasn’t the picture perfect ‘we-belong-in-a- J.Crew- magazine’ kind of matching, but it was special to us and it worked. His personality seemed so much more his own. It was the same confidence I experienced when I needed it the most.
I joke with people who comment on my hair, explaining that I have less to wash and more time to spend with Kyler. And it’s the truth.
I would be foolish to think that hair is more important than the precious time I have with my son. I know who I am as an individual, as a mother and most importantly as a role model for my son.
As Kyler grew, my family began to accept the fact that my hair had nothing to do with my mothering skills or that my tattoos didn’t negate the love I have for my child.
My mom will still comment on how pretty I am with long hair, or how I should let the shaved part grow out, but the past four years have been bare, true and heartfelt. That’s not a piece of life I am willing to let go.
My hair is a reminder of how wonderful change can be. My parents scold me for shaving Kyler’s hair into a Mohawk and I understand that when he gets older his hair will be his choice. And I have no problem with that because it’s all heart…Not hair.