“I am not my hair”
Today is my birthday.
Today is also the day I will cut off the hair I’ve been growing for twelve years.
Through my adolescence I experimented with many different extreme hairstyles and, inspired by the lead singer of a band I loved, I decided that dreadlocks would be next on the list. I knew that for some it held a deep or spiritual meaning but to me, it was just another weird hairstyle… or so I thought.
I never could have imagined how much this hairstyle would end up defining who I was to the world. Obviously the hair made me stick out in a crowd, but it also communicated something to people who didn’t know me… though I wasn’t a fan of scaring certain old people or disappointing countless young people when I have to inform them that I don’t actually smoke or have any weed for them, I was pleased to discover that because of how my hair looked, complete strangers seemed more comfortable with approaching me- all types of people would just come right up to me and start a conversation, occasionally even just reaching out and grabbing a lock of hair to appease their curiosity. As an extroverted “people” person, I have cherished the way my hair seems to make people act around me.
Our society puts such a heavy importance on image, but that expectation is even greater for the people that dare to venture onto any type of stage. When I began pursuing a career as a singer/songwriter I soon discovered just how big a role image plays in the life of a musician, and for better or worse, my hair has come to be a dominate part of my “brand” as an artist.
For a long time now I have been feeling ready for a change, but fear has kept me from acting out on that feeling. Change is always hard, but this is a really big one! I’ve had my hair this way for almost half my life! Though I feel ready to cut it I also still really do love how it make me look and feel. Even larger is the fear of how this will affect my music career… I know common sense says that if people like my music a different hairstyle won’t change that, but I also know how important image is, especially in the music industry. I worry that maybe my value as an artist is based for some people on the combination of my image and my talent, and that maybe my talent alone won’t be enough. Easily 90% of the people who know me, as a musician and also just as a person, have only ever known me as having dreadlocks. It feels foolish even saying the words, but somewhere in my mind exists the fear that changing my hair will also change how some of those people feel about me.
Here we go.
You can check out Kyle’s music at http://ilovekylewilliams.com/bio/