My Kryptonite!My Power! My Hair 💇🏾

I am at my most vulnerable wearing a black cape, stood in front of a mirror with my hairdresser one step behind me, waiting for a worded response which will hopefully convey the opposite of what my face is saying.

I have that type of face that doesn't need to say anything. My face is like an etch-a-sketch! Emotions drawn right on there!

It's okay. My long suffering hairdresser knows me well enough not to feel offended. She is a hair magician and has the patience of a saint. She knows this is all about me.

And the vulnerable hair journey I go through every time I have a lapse of boldness and decide on a new hairstyle.

Every…….Single……..Time!

Growing up pre-internet in a white household in a predominantly white neighbourhood is the root of my issues. I didn't get my hair done properly until I was about nine years old which not only affected the growth of my hair but my pain threshold! Long before the days of YouTube where you can teach yourself anything, my mum used to stick a pink bow in my hair and send me on my way!

I didn't give my hairstyle a second thought until it was time to go to Middle School. I'd gone from being a frog in a pond to a tadpole in the ocean! Rather than feeling comfortable that I was no longer the only black person in my year, I felt more exposed. Misplaced!

In Primary School, no-one commented on my colour, my skin, my hair – I was just 'Emma'.

Not only did I get taunted for having dry skin and a 'picky' head but I placed myself on a comparison scale. The school playground became my YouTube and I saw what hair could look like. It wasn't something that was just a minor addition, it became the biggest part of me!

Hair relaxers, curly perms, hair pieces, extensions, braids, bleaching – I did the lot! I frequently changed my hair. Wearing each style with confidence! I was no longer a tadpole. For years I felt comfortable with my surroundings.

Then, work happened. Putting me in the spotlight. Making me once again feel exposed.

Unlike primary school, where I was just 'Emma', work life and adults strengthened the roots of my issues and added to my insecurities.

  • Each time I had to talk through my hairstyle – often explaining that it wasn't all my hair – to be greeted with confused stares or a scroll of further questions.
  • Each time someone grabbed my hair to have a feel without even asking, pulling at the roots in the process, which FYI fucking hurts!
  • Each time I was asked why don't you have an 'afro' or 'dreads' or hair like *insert black female celebrity*?

A part of my hair confidence would wither!

I'd get my hair done when I 'needed' to. When it was literally hanging by a thread. Keeping to a 'safe' style and for the first few weeks after having a new style I would wear it up to try and disguise it.

I know people don't mean to make me feel bad and it's nice that they're showing an interest. But each time I get my hair done I feel like I'm stepping onto a talent show. With every person turning into an expert on hair and becoming a judge! "This is nice but I liked the other style better" or "This is the best style you've had". I almost expect Len Goodman to pop up with a 'SEVEN!'.

Maybe I'm being too sensitive but, if I'm struggling to sleep the first few night of my new hairstyle due to fear of the comments I'm going to get, then I can't just continue to ignore my feelings. As I said before, my hair became the biggest part of me. So when my hair is getting critiqued then so am I!

New hairstyles and vulnerability go hand in hand.

This is the first time I've actually sat down to take into account all the vulnerability buttons that are being pushed when it comes to my hair. So many factors come into play and thanks to my new hairstyle I've had a therapeutic journey up to Leeds thinking about it.

*Apologies to the guy sat opposite me from London to Peterborough as I was typing away, trying to hold my tears back, whilst eating an egg sarnie!!

Finally sharing my feelings about my hair vulnerability on my blog has definitely helped me get some kind of closure (hair pun to those in the know).

So here you have my new hair and the story behind how I feel about it.

Emma x

Instagram: @emmalouhalliday

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Some of my hairstyles

Bitten by the lonely bug!

 “Today I am alone but I choose not to be lonely”

Those were the words I uttered with gusto………………maybe out loud, with a mini fist pump and a nod of the head. Those words pulled me out of the victim mentality mode I’d been in for the past 20mins or so.

Couples in love, the laughter of friends and happy families all enjoying the sun and soaking up the atmosphere on a busy Brick Lane.


I felt alone!

At that moment, if time was to pause, I would have happily swapped shoes with many people on that street, not giving a thought to what size and style the shoes were nor where they had been.

It’s not like it was my first time alone in a busy place but this time I felt like I stood out, shining brighter than the sun, wearing a hat that yelled loner!
I recalled the comment a friend had made years earlier.

“As great as London is, it can feel like the loneliest place in the world.”  

The words highly resonated with me today and a quick search on Google brought up a survey conducted by TimeOut on 18 cities, to see which one was the loneliest. London came up top.

That is when I made the decision that I wasn’t going to be lonely. I was going to enjoy the glorious sunny afternoon and right then I made London my friend.

Immediately I looked at London from a different perspective. I sauntered down the street, head held high, free Bud Light in hand, making it look way tastier than it was. I decided to walk home from Shoreditch, looking on this spectacular place with innocent eyes – I saw buildings, shops, trees and graffiti that I’d never seen before.

Walking past 2 guys, I saw in one of their eyes that although he was not alone, he looked really lonely. It hit me that I’d been there before and that type of loneliness hurt me more than the one I had felt mere minutes ago. Loneliness when surrounded by people. I’d been crippled with it numerous times.

I then thought back to a conversation I had with a friend when I moaned yet again about being the ‘eternal singleton’. 

“You’re out all the time and so busy and independent, where would you find time for a relationship?”

Struggling to hold back the flash of emotion that had popped the fuck out of nowhere, I finally replied. “If I wasn’t busy and doing things all the time, I would feel more alone and…………..down”. I had really wanted to use the word depressed but, we didn’t talk like that.

If only I had said “Today I am alone but I choose not to be lonely” at these times.

The saunter continued, I was smiling and genuinely happy. Enjoying the weekend, my new £5 sunglasses – that were already hurting my nose, the fact that I had escaped a hangover and that I had another weak, albeit free, Bud Light in my bag. I was loving the fact that I was owning my day!

Suddenly I was seeing more people that were alone, these people will have been there all along it’s just I was choosing to focus on what I didn’t have before. 

With my new sense of focus I took a pit stop at the first park I saw, kicked my shoes off and got stuck into my book.


Will I feel lonely again? Damn right I will and this could be triggered by a number of things. 

Sometimes choosing not to feel lonely won’t come as easy and at times like these I am fortunate enough to have a really great set of friends and now this blog, which is like a personal diary to me.

Apparently loneliness is an increasing problem in modern life, with some sources saying there’s actually a ‘loneliness epidemic’.

If you don’t feel like you have someone you can open up to, try and change your focus as there’s always someone listening. Maybe I can be that someone?!

Emma x

http://www.facebook.com/Hallidayshealthzone

Instagram: @emmalouhalliday