photo credit: The Everygirl
read on for the interview!
1. hello! please introduce yourself to LAM readers.
Hi! My name is Patrice Batson. I currently live in Brooklyn, NY but I'm the epitome of a suburb girl. Whenever I go to visit my parents in New Jersey my favorite thing to do is get in the car and drive to the mall. I work at ELLE magazine as a marketing manager, and in my spare time I consult for small brands.
"I've always been a very 'by the book' girl. My goal during that time was to just fade into the background and not bring too much attention to myself. My long straight hair helped me achieve that. I usually wore my longer hair in a ponytail or straightened."
To achieve my straight hair, I had to use a chemical process called relaxing and it what it does is stretch your natural curl pattern so your hair is straight without any texture to it. I relaxed my hair about 6-8 times a year for 20 years. Can you imagine what has seeped into my brain from the relaxer during that long time frame?! I try not to even think about it.
"Cutting my hair was major for me. I'm a Pinterest addict and I kept seeing all of these beautiful black women with natural hair on there that I admired. I thought I didn't have the guts to do that though. I brought the topic of natural hair up to my fiancé, Kalvin (now husband!) and he was so excited. In fact, he was the person that pushed me to get my hair cut and supported me through the whole process."
I was terrified! I've never done something so drastic. I always had my hair to hide behind and then it was nothing but my face. When I was having an ugly day and longed for a ponytail, I had to keep my head high and rock my short 'do. I definitely grew a pair of balls and some much needed confidence overnight.
4. what is your morning hair routine now?
I have color in my hair which is something I never experimented with before, so every week I have to deep condition it. My daily routine is wet my hair in the shower every morning, add a little conditioner, do the wet dog (shake my hair upside down soaking wet) and then I'm out the door!
"The haircut has changed my life. Hair care for me has never been easier. I noticed that the more I leave my hair alone, the better it looks. The curls have a mind of their own."
5. how did people react to your haircut? did it change how you see yourself?
"The reaction I received after the cut was extremely varied. My mother and father-in-law hated it. They actually both made me cry about it. After that, I said no one would ever make me cry about my appearance again. I gave them the power to do that and I hated that feeling. This sort of spilled into other parts of my life as well. In the past, I would keep quiet but now when I don't like something or the way I'm being treated, I stand up for myself. You can say I've been a little drunk on confidence since the cut!"
Luckily, everyone else's reaction was much more positive and supportive. Many of my friends tell me they can't even imagine me with long straight hair anymore. I think I was born for short, curly hair and I'm so happy I finally embraced it.
P.S.: for more on the cultural politics of straightening vs. natural hair, check out Chris Rock's insightful documentary, Good Hair.
do you have short hair / have you ever gotten a dramatically different haircut? what was your experience?