showing yourself how to let go

I cut off all my hair.

I didn't plan it. I just knew my spirit needed a bold expression.  I needed to feel unattached.  

I suppose I've been leading up to this for awhile.  I've been looking at myself and wanting to see a reflection of the changes that are happening inside.  But I kept seeing the same girl, covering the same things, protecting the same insecurities.  This subtle craving has been building up in me.

When I was a little girl, I discovered that I could get attention with my hair.  Whether it was good or bad, people always had something to say about it.  I was never the coolest, best dressed or the prettiest, but my hair was always a distinguishing characteristic.  From a young age, I learned how to braid it, twist it and roll it up a dozen different ways.  Even as I went through my adolescent awkwardness, my hair always made me feel like I had something special going on.   I remember feeling a sense of gratification when I had the longest black girl hair in the room.  I never admitted this to myself or anyone else, but quietly I grew into a woman who was completely dependent on this specific physical feature to make me feel beautiful.

It was a crutch.  My hair helped to cover my big head and my acne.  It made me feel feminine and sexy despite my lack of curves and confidence. And lately, I don't know.  I've been resenting it, I guess. Not wanting to be bothered with all the maintenance.  No matter how simple I made my routine, it was still more than I wanted to make time for.  But it never occurred to me to cut it.  I would look at myself in pictures and feel bored. But cut it?  Nah.  Because who am I without my long hair?  What will I do without those compliments?  What will make me special?

I woke up Saturday morning after two days of back to back setbacks that had sent me spiraling into 'what's wrong with me and why do I suck at life' mode.  My hair was in a top knot, super dry and thirsty on the outside and damp on the inside after days of neglect.  I hopped in the shower, to bathe and to cry,  and I finally took the time to condition and detangle it.  I remember thinking, I should just shave it all off.   And for the first time ever, the idea sounded appealing to me.  

Funny how sometimes you don't realize how much extra weight you are carrying until something knocks you way down and in your struggle to get back up all you care about is doing away with any and everything that is heavy.  And what you once needed so badly to feel special, you don't even want anymore. It's become a burden. Your priorities have changed, your desires have changed.   This is the moment that you realize you can let go and you can have less and discover that you've gained much, much more.

So I cut it.  

And it was liberating and it was symbolic.  I needed to let go of all that old energy literally hanging off of me. I wanted to look in the mirror each day and see a reflection of a new me.  A woman who doesn't let habit blind her to new sources of happiness.  A woman who is brave enough to dare and have faith through the experiences that stretch her. I immediately felt lighter. And relieved.  I'd been acting so pitiful for those past two days, feeling sorry for myself, but standing in front of that mirror with those scissors in my hand and hair all over the floor, I felt empowered.  I thought about how relentless transformation is.   How it comes for you.  How it works its way from the inside out.  How messy it is and how important it is that we endure it.  

When I look in the mirror now, there is new meaning and new confidence in my reflection. I am willing to seek out what I've been hiding from myself so I can heal.  I'm thankful.  I'm ready.  

 

ESSAYSGG ReneeSELF-LOVE, HAIR, BEAUTY