I am a HUGE India Arie fan. She sings a song called “I am not my hair” that addresses so many of the stigmas surrounding hair in today’s culture. My favorite part poses the question:
Does the way I wear my hair make me a better person?
Does the way I wear my hair make me a better friend?
Does the way I wear my hair determine my integrity?
I am expressing my creativity
India is right…for the most part. “I am not my hair. I am not this skin. I am not your expectations…I am a soul that lives within (Source).”
But what if I told you that the last statement of my favorite part of the song is exactly why I am absolutely my hair? Perhaps my hair, without ever meaning to, expresses who I am without ever saying a word.
My hair is an expression of my creativity.
Sometimes I like to wear it long. Other times I like to wear it short. Some days I wear it curly. Other days I wear it straight. On occasions, I am blonde. On other occasions, I have a purple streak. As adults, we no longer have permission to attend tea parties with dolls. We cannot wear princess dresses for no reason at all. We cannot dress up as Flash and run through the house. We cannot pull out our Ninja Turtle costume and throw it on simply because it is Wednesday. My hair grants me the permission to be myself. It allows me to show who I am at any point in time, and when I need permission to adjust my appearance based on the adjustments that life has handed me…I adjust my hair accordingly.
My hair breaks when I get stressed.
Someone told me that going natural would stop my hair from breaking. She told me that the chemicals in my hair were too harsh, and it would continue to break until I got rid of the chemicals so I threw in my weave, and I grew my curls. Imagine my surprise when my curls began to break. At first, I did not understand. I could not believe it. Why in the world did I go natural only to experience the same problems as I did with the chemicals? I later learned that the chemicals were only a part of the problem…The other, much larger part, is stress. Stress can break anything, up to and including me…up to and including you.
My hair always grows back.
The good news is, stress only damages pieces. Only certain sections are affected. Even those sections that have to start over ALWAYS grow back. I always continue to grow. You always grow back. Stress does not kill the hair. It only hurts it for a moment, but we learn how to adapt. We learn how to manage. We learn what to do so that stress cannot do the same thing the next time…I take hair and nail vitamins. I eat better. I drink more water. I tap into friends and family for help and guidance, but most importantly, I keep growing.
I have a hair routine.
I found what works for me. I wash on Saturday mornings. Contrary to the popular belief held by the natural hair community, I must shampoo my hair once a week. In order not to strip every bit of its natural vitamins, nutrients, and MOISTURE, I use the Love of People’s Loving You. I deep condition with Touch of Love , and I base my hair for twist outs, finger coils, and any other styles with XXIVK. These are my go-to products. This is my go-to routine…the same way my life has a go-to routine.
I wake up in the morning and do my devotion. I comb my daughter’s hair. I get myself together, and help my husband get the kids together for school. We do my son’s homework when he comes home. I check through folders and initial assignments and behavior colors. We eat dinner together, and we make sure the shoes make it to the stairs so we know where they are in the morning. I check my Instagram feed. I snap (mrsbonnaffons) my sisters and best friends. Everything else is negotiable….the same way wash day is negotiable…the same way hair routines are negotiable…
I keep learning.
I found what does not work for me. I learned that what worked when I first cut my hair does not work the same way it used to. As my hair grows, some of the styles do not look the same. However, I can introduce some styles I could not use before. Those styles, though, require practice and repetition before they become routine…
So often in life, we make it to new levels, and we try to hold on to old routines. We try to do things the way we always did them. But we are not the same. My hair has grown. Your hair has grown. We have grown, and we have to learn what works for us now. We have to be willing to learn to maintain the person we are, not the person we used to be.
My hair is a journey and not a destination.
A lady complimented me in the line at a store the other day. She told me my curls were beautiful and how beautiful my hair will be when I grow it out. I used to think the same thing. I used to imagine how beautiful I would look with the big, wild curls, until I remembered that hair just as life is not a destination. It is instead a journey to be enjoyed along the way. Some days will be good. Others I will want to hide under a rock. Some days I will feel like I am on top of the world, and others, I will want to hit the restart button. Yet, I cannot wish away my life waiting on an end result. I must learn to appreciate the process.
I am NOT my hair. I am much more. I am a person with hopes and dreams, with children and a husband and a blog. India was onto something.
BUT, on the other side to that same coin, my hair is a reflections of who I am at any point in time. It is an outward manifestation of how I feel…of what I am going through.
And in that regard, I am absolutely my hair.
What are some ways that you express yourself?
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*I received this shirt complimentary. All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are my own and not influenced by the developing company, and/or its affiliates in any way.