Today is my birthday!!! I’m excited about being a year older, and infinitely wiser.
As usual, my birthday has led to great moments of introspection. This led to me reflecting on my hair journey, and my own voyage into self-awareness and fulfillment.
My issues with self-esteem have already been talked about in a previous post! Yet that struggle was tied to my struggle with my hair. I was never a girl who cared about my physical appearance, mostly because I didn’t think I was beautiful. I couldn’t put on makeup, couldn’t do my hair, and honestly, didn’t care to do either. I was more comfortable playing basketball or reading a book.
I would often tell my Mom, as early as high school, that I would love to cut all my hair off! I never felt comfortable in my own skin, or with my hair.
The struggle continued from high school, all the way through undergrad. When I first moved to Atlanta to pursue my Masters degree, I saw all these beautiful Black women embracing their natural hair. I was inspired to do the same, as I was embracing my own inner beauty. So I did the BIG CHOP, and begin the natural hair journey!!
While I was more free, there was still the part of me that didn’t see myself as attractive or beautiful. I was too!! Too black, too fat, too quiet, too boyish; just too!!! I discovered that no matter how I chose to wear my hair, until I dealt with the internal dialogue I would never see the real me.
It didn’t happen overnight, matter of fact it took a long time. It happened gradually, day by day I begin to change my language. I was beautiful, I was pretty, I was smart, I was created in the image of God! My language changed, my mind changed, what I saw in the mirror changed.
Eventually, I reached the point where I kept saying I want to cut my hair, and so with the encouragement of my twin and my BFFF taking me to the salon, I cut my hair again. In the chair that day, I finally made the decision that I had wanted to make way back in high school.
This decision was not a rebellion, instead it was the final embracing of who I’ve always wanted to be. A woman free of the stereotypical standards of beauty. My hair doesn’t define me, instead it’s a reflection of my freedom to be my true myself. As I finally decided to free myself of my hair, I freed myself of negative thinking.
I encourage everyone to be free to be who God created you to be. I am, and I’m loving it!! I am free, Praise the Lord, I’m free!!!
India.Arie said it best, “I am not my hair, I am not this skin, I am not your expectations. I am not my hair, I am not this skin, I am a soul that lives within.
Happy Birthday to me!!!