“I need to see my own beauty and to continue to be reminded that I am enough, that I am worthy of love without effort, that I am beautiful, that the texture of my hair and that the shape of my curves, the size of my lips, the color of my skin, and the feelings that I have are all worthy and okay.” — Tracee Ellis Ross
“One of the lessons that I grew up with was to always stay true to yourself and never let what somebody else says distract you from goals.” — Michelle Obama
Its been a while since I sat down to process my thoughts into words. I dearly missed sharing and reading the comments, but my life these past months has been one hell of a ride that sometimes, I can barely express how I feel to anyone. Sincerely, this year alone has been filled with lots of experiences.
I naturally found myself completing the tasks I’d never planned on this year. My major plans were mostly canceled due to the pandemic, but I was able to achieve a few things that added value generally. I focused on self-growth and learned it’s okay to be different as long as I’m being true to myself.
In the past, I struggled with fitting in any gathering that I had to bend my rules to be associated with people with unlike minds. I cared so much about what people think of me and not what I think of myself or what God thinks of me. I was scared of making certain decisions on my own, so I allowed others to make them for me and most of them turned out ‘ungreat’.
In preparation for my youth service, I had a plan of where I wanted to serve and the career path I intended to take. I was certain of what I desired, but as the time gradually came for me to apply, I had others making decisions they thought was best for me. Sadly, that didn’t go as I thought it would.
With the ill-fated decisions that were made in the past, I decided to develop self-confidence to speak up and make decisions on my own, without seeking approval from others. I’ve been able to learn how to believe in myself and rely on my instincts, knowing fully well that the decisions I make may not eventually turn out as I hope it would.
For a long time, I’d wanted to have my hair cut because I got to a point where I knew I needed a change. I didn’t feel like myself, and not knowing what to do with my hair made me sadder. I envied those that had the courage to do things and be comfortable with their decisions. As always, I asked a few people what they thought about having my hair cut and all I could receive were negative responses as to why a lady would cut her hair. Many related it to scriptural verses in the Bible, and I was amazed at their thought process.
I was scared to do what I wanted and as such, I kept putting myself through the gruesome process of sitting for hours at the salon only to return home wondering why I was punishing myself. At some point, I decided to go on full natural hair, hoping things would different but it wasn’t. For months, I had to deal with this because of what people might think of me, so I allowed myself to be sad and uncomfortable.
Last month, I was reading an article of a lady who shared the story of how she eventually found the courage to shave her head. It was an incredible one and it compelled me to feel less worried about what people might say and to do it. Weeks later, I woke up one morning and told myself “today is the day I become free”. A few hours later, I had all my hair shaved and it felt like a burden was lifted off my shoulders.
To be honest, I’ve been capable of doing more activities since I had my hair cut. I’ve not had to worry about what new hair to do or feel sad due to constant headaches and whatnot. I’m thankful for the calmness and comfort it brings. I received so many messages from people on social media, commenting on how the new haircut looks good on me. It made me ask myself why I was scared in the first place and that if they didn’t like it, they’ll adjust to the new look sooner or later.
There is so much freedom in starting afresh, just you and the shape of your head — weird or not. As a woman taught to earn approval through her appearance, I felt superior to go against that structure and aesthetic a bit more. I do believe this has been one of the best decisions made in quarantine and I hope to be more confident in myself to make better ones in the future.