When I first started my blog, it took me a while to decide what exactly I was going to talk about. I felt like there were lots of different things I could say but not many things that people would actually want to read. Out of the many things I thought about specializing in, one of them was hair, because as a woman (a black woman nonetheless) there is no shortage of things to be said about the multicolored, multi-textured accessories we all wear on our head.
Even though in the end I decided against a hair-centered blog, I feel like my “hair-journey,” if you will, is still a big part of my story, a big part of the stories of women all around the world; and for many of us it goes beyond just “hair.” Our hair is a story of our culture, our childhood, our identity… and in my pursuit of sharing my extraordinarily average life with all of you, I have to include the journey I have gone on with my hair:
*Disclaimer: I am trusting you all with some pictures from the dark ages of my childhood and angsty adolescence… Please ignore the duck-faces and peace signs. Kindness is a virtue.*
UPDATE: I’m having some issues with embedding my timeline in this post, but here is the link to view it in another page.
Reflecting on the Progress
As you can see, I’ve come a long way, and with every new hairstyle came a change in my life, whether I noticed it at the time or not.
Growing up, I was a multi-racial kid in a pretty homogenous part of town, and once I became conscious of this, I tried my best to stand out as little as possible but in doing so, I was rejecting an entire part of who I was.
For nearly ten years of my life, I altered bits and pieces of my physical appearance (and my personality) in order to make them more “acceptable” to people I claimed not to care about, but it wasn’t until I started college that I realized the truth behind my actions.
After my first year of college, I felt like I had experienced a whole new world, and realized that I had a choice to make.
- I could continue growing into a person I wasn’t sure I liked; a person who cared too much about what others thought, a person who couldn’t speak up for herself especially in relationships, and a person who was afraid to stand out and be seen for who she really was…
- Or I could start fresh, and discover who I was meant to be, for myself.
I’d like to say one morning I woke up and chose the latter option, and it has been butterflies and rainbows ever since, but it hasn’t.
I did choose the latter, but I think the hardest part is that choice is one that has to be made every single day. I think I’m the type of person that can pretend to be something I’m not and get by pretty well, but if I want to be my truest self… If I want to respect myself, every day is a fight. But it’s absolutely worth it, because I’ve learned that I’m absolutely worth it… and as weird as it might sound, for me it all started with cutting my hair.
It Might Be Different For You
I don’t pretend to know what each person is using to hide themselves from the world, but for me, it was partially my hair, and it took a major life change (like moving across the country for college) for me to realize I didn’t want to hide anymore.
(I actually wrote a blog post the day I cut my hair, and I think it still shows how much I needed it. You can read that here.)
I don’t think I even fully realized how much it would change me until well after it was done, but looking back at where I was internally before I cut my hair, and where I am now… I’m really proud of my progress, and even more determined to keep growing.
I’m not going make you listen to every lifestyle change and personal decision I’ve made in the last year and a half (I know you don’t care because it’s boring for me to re-live it too), but I will say that my faith, my relationships, and my general outlook on life are much more healthy than they’ve ever been.
My Challenge to You
In my few decades on this Earth, I’ve learned for myself that sometimes people don’t realize the damage they’re doing to themselves before it’s too late. My mom spent my entire childhood telling me my curls were beautiful, and it wasn’t until they were gone that I realized that she was right (thankfully heat damage is not DNA damage).
I want to challenge you to not be as stubborn as I was. Take a look at who you are underneath the mask you hide behind, and say “Hey [insert your name here], you are enough.” Then you can put the mask back on. And it will take some time, but if you do this often enough one day you’ll realize you don’t want to put the mask on anymore. You’ll realize that the mask is heavy and exhausting, and it’s not you. You’ll realize that you’re better off without it.
When I die, I want to be remembered for who I actually was, not who I pretended to be for money, popularity, “likes,” or laughs. I think the person we try to hide is more worth remembering anyways.
-Plain Jane xx