I’m a believer that you can turn anything into a lesson. Granted, when my dermatologist told me my flat ironing days were over, I didn’t expect it to inspire a blog post one day, but such is life!
It’s been nearly a year and a half since my last flat iron (I finally straightened over the holidays) and I’ve learned some lessons along the way ... things that go beyond hair and apply to real life.
Challenge your truth. There are all these existing constructs that we mindlessly adopt. Things as simple as why do we eat eggs for breakfast instead of lasagna? Or, why do we have wine with dinner instead of milk? These are trivial examples, but the idea of accepting cultural or social norms without question is something we all encounter. Pause and take time to understand why you do the things you do.
As it relates to hair: I was probably 10 years old the first time my mom relaxed my hair. Once I got old enough to style my own hair, I continued relaxing it – never pausing to ask myself why every 8 weeks I was applying a chemical to alter my hair.
Teach people boundaries. People won’t necessarily prioritize your boundaries over their own. Teach them. Whether it’s at your place of work, in your home, or even hanging with your friends, protect your peace by making sure people know what’s okay and not okay in your presence.
As it relates to hair: Human curiosity will have people wanting to run their fingers through your kinks and curls (read my thoughts on this topic). If that’s your thing, go for it. If not, let them know it’s not going down!
People are drawn to authenticity. The truer we are to ourselves, the more comfortable we are in our own skin and, quite frankly, the more we enjoy life. And that’s when we start to attract the people who are meant to be in our lives. People who add value and fulfillment; people who recognize that we are more than enough just as we are.
As it relates to hair: Hair is an extension of our personality, don’t you think? Anybody who knows me knows I like to laugh and have fun. About 9 months into my flat iron hiatus, my curls were poppin … and so was I lol! I wasn’t worried about making sure every hair was perfectly placed or that I was going to sweat out my blowout. I was being authentically me – fun + carefree. Even my husband was having a better time with me because I was walking in my true self.
People are more comfortable putting you in a box. We are a society of labels. I don’t know what it is about being able to categorize someone that makes people more comfortable. There’s no blueprint for any one group of people. All women aren’t the same; all black women aren’t the same; all mothers aren’t the same. I can go on, but the point is to remember that this here world is full of boxes … don’t climb into one just to make it ‘easier’ or more comfortable for someone to interact with you.
As it relates to hair: Okay, this whole hair-typing thing (throws side eye) … why do we have to categorize ourselves to death?! You want to know what products will work for you hair? Trial and error, honey. I understand hair-typing was intended to help women on their hair journeys, but to my earlier point – not all “4A” or “3B” is going to behave the same. So how about we just give each other the time + freedom to figure out what works on our own.
Tell me in the comments below what lessons you've learned/are learning from your hair journey.
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