hair diaries: how matt’s hair holds his history
Here at amika, we are fascinated with learning and sharing the hair journeys of our community. Everyone’s relationship and journey with their hair is completely unique, and we find so much beauty in this.
Today we will be sharing the answer to the question, “what is your relationship with your hair?” in the words of our friend, Matt, aka @mattloveshair. Trigger warning: this article contains the topic of suicide.
"This is a simple question with such a complex answer. My hair is an accessory. My hair is a statement of style. But also, my hair holds the deeply emotional memories of the winding path I’ve navigated through life to get me to this very moment while I sit here reminiscing.
Is that over dramatic? Maybe to some. To some, their hair is just strands of chemical bonds sprouting from their scalp. To others, our hair is our history.
“Why did you decide to grow your hair long?” I’ve been asked many times. Since I’m being candid here, I’ll be honest- I wanted to be “cool.” I was 19 years old and I felt like nobody could see me. I felt invisible because I wasn’t gorgeous like the 30-year olds playing teenagers on TV. I wanted to transform into someone who was memorable and someone that people wanted to be around.
I had convinced myself that if I could just cultivate some sort of fabulous style and good looks, all of my problems would be solved. I was fixated on changing who I was and was focused on the outside only.
The saddest part is that worked! And at first my new “look” gave me the confidence to make new friends and have new experiences, but those experiences were all empty, because long hair and cute clothes do not equal happiness. What I’d failed to work on, while fixating on my hair and my style, was the pain I felt inside my heart, living my life in the closet.
Before college was over, I took a summer internship in New York City. While apartment hunting, I fell in love at first site with a boy who would become my first boyfriend and the support system I needed to come out to my family and friends and live openly gay.
His name was Gary, he had a thick southern accent, and long, wavy blond hair all the way down his back. I spent every penny I had to sublet his spare room, and within a few weeks, we were inseparable and stayed together for 2 years.
Just two long haired boys in love, trying our best to grow up and find our places in the world. Ultimately, my sweet Gary lost his own battle with mental health to suicide. This twist of fate would become the greatest struggle of my young adult life.
While searching for ways to move forward through my grief, I decided to follow through on one of Gary’s goals; to enroll in beauty school and pursue a creative career path! I will never forget my first ever client in beauty school, and the way we connected while I covered her grey roots. We were strangers, but for about an hour and a half, we felt like old friends. This connection became a guiding light for me.
I learned that working with people’s hair creates an instant and intimate connection. I learned that many of us hold emotions and memories in our hair, just like I do. And most importantly, I learned that I could add value to people’s lives through this intimate connection.
So, when I’m asked, “what’s my relationship to my hair” I can’t help but think to myself- IT’S COMPLICATED! But, it’s also full of love, history, passion and joy."
We love having thought provoking dialogue with our amika fam + friends. If you want to be part of the conversation, don’t be afraid to reach out. For the chance to be featured on The Strand and be part of our ever-growing community of friends, click here and tell us a little bit about your relationship with your hair.