The Terror Of Cutting Long Black Hair Kept Her Up At Night

I struggled to let go of my long Black hair — even though I knew I had to.

Nia Simone McLeod
5 min readMar 18, 2022
Two women with long, curly hair in white tank tops look into the camera.
Photo by Polina Tankilevitch from Pexels

As I held the gray shears, moments away from cutting the hair I’d spent five years growing, my hands began to quiver. I looked at myself in the bathroom mirror. My large halo of kinks and coils was haphazardly sectioned into parts, each bonded by a multi-colored hair tie.

A tear fell down my cheek, like I was breaking up a long-standing friendship — because I was.

The first time I realized the quality of my hair was declining I felt betrayed. I had just taken out 6-week old box braids. I looked in the mirror at my impromptu braid out, sprinkled with lint and curl pudding residue, and noticed I could see straight through it.

My eyes widened almost cartoonishly. My afro, my mane, my crown, was thinning.

I started washing my hair and tried to forget about what I’d just witnessed. But I couldn’t help wondering where I went wrong: Did I leave the box braids in for too long? Is my work stressing me out to the point where I’m losing my hair? Am I allergic to that growth oil I just bought from Walmart?

I first thought about cutting my hair during that wash day. But, my hair, having grown way past my…



Nia Simone McLeod

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