It’s her hair. It’s just hair. There’s nothing wrong with it.
“It’s 8:40am, I’m up. Daily routine: shower, wash hair (depending on if I’m running late or not),
get dressed, head to work. I’m a foster care social worker. The only thing I don’t have to do is style my hair.” [laughs]
24-year-old, Liandra has been scissor happy since 2009, following through with her drastic cut in 2011. Surrounded by female relatives known to sport short cuts, Liandra says she wasn’t too afraid to join the trend.
“I went to my hair stylist and we just cut it all off,without thinking. We thought it might look good! I resemble my aunts more than my parents. My dad’s sister had a ‘baldie’ for years and I figured I kinda look like her so this shouldn’t be too bad. We’re going to hope for the best.”
“Hope for the best” was right.
While Liandra was loving her new look, not everyone shared the same sentiments. Especially her Caribbean parents.
“My mom was mad but she always gets mad, my dad was pissed. I’m Caribbean, they don’t do no hair. Everything revolves around hair. My dad would say I look like a “little boy.” They’ll be okay, it’s just hair.”
For many, confidence is dependent on one’s outward appearance but, not for Liandra. She admits it took time to become comfortable in her skin, adding that today, she’s okay with the criticism of others. Liandra says she’s aware that though sometimes she may not look good, she still is good.
“I was teased so heavily in elementary school. I’m extremely thin, I’ve always been thin and about this height , 5’4″. I was always tall, slinky and the darkest in class. Everyone made fun of my skin complexion, my weight, and it really hurt me for years.”
Like any mother would, Liandra’s mother tried her very best to console and encourage her then, insecure daughter. A very young Liandra believed that no matter what her mother said, she was ugly because her classmates said she was.
Then, one day it clicked.
“It was the beginning of 2015, it wasn’t a New Year’s Resolution. It was an “it is what it is” I can’t change who I am. I did a post for an online journal called From A Wildflower. Because I had to tap into a lot of things I never spoke about, it made me realize [my beauty] as I was writing it.”
While society adamantly defines beauty as one very specific “type”, Liandra begs to differ. Wholeheartedly believing that everyone is beautiful differently, she encourages society to wake up and realize that though light-skin, long hair is pretty so is dark-skin, short hair.
“My best friend is that light-skin, big booty girl. She’s what society wants, well in the black community at least. She always tells me “your confidence depends on you.” Your confidence goes down when you try and be what people want you to be. There’s now this expectation of what to look like and now you’re mad when you look in the mirror because you have to look like yourself instead of someone else.”
Liandra knows people will always have their criticism and something to make fun of, after all it’s a true testament to her life journey thus far. However, that doesn’t discourage her. Instead, it fuels her confidence and she hopes it encourages her peers to do the same.
“At the end of the day, a lot of people who tell you look like this, you look like that; that’s a problem they have within themselves. They probably want to look like you, or be like you and chances are their life behind Instagram is messed up and yours is better. Listen, I’m comfortable with this look and I don’t want it to grow back.“