2013 was a wonderful yet challenging year. I hit a few rough patches, but I also experienced many blessings to help me put things in perspective. One of my rough patches (which didn’t seem all that rough after a few more things happened this year) was losing my hair and having to do the big chop again. I did my first big chop in 2012. A year later my hair was growing in nicely and was very healthy. Then, I made an awful mistake. I let someone I didn’t trust blow my hair out. The heat caused so much damage that after a month of trying to hold on, I had to chop everything off.
I was so mad at myself for allowing someone to damage my hair like that. I should have known better. I was also pretty sad. The decision to go natural was major for me, and I was having a love affair with my natural hair when this incident disrupted things. I truly cried the day that I realized what happened. My husband tried to console me, but it was useless. I just went to bed. But, in retrospect, I am so glad it happened. That experience with my hair taught me so much about myself.
One major lesson was that starting over is okay. When you work at something for a while, and you actually see positive results, having to start from scratch can feel devastating. You feel like all the effort was for nothing. But, I realize that the effort is never for nothing – even when you have to start over. Whether its damaged hair, or a damaged relationship – when it’s time to let go, just let go and start all over. Something was learned, even if things didn’t turn out they way you hoped for. Moving on is often for the best, because the damage can’t always be reversed.
I also learned that you always (and I mean always) have to put things in perspective. I was so upset about the hair loss and a few weeks later a woman at the salon said, “well, its okay… it’s not like you lost your leg, because that won’t grow back.” I sat with that thought for a while and realized that I was allowing something that could be repaired to sadden me so much. It grows back. There are so many things in life you can lose that truly are devastating. Even hair loss can be if it’s due to illness. But losing my hair because I made a bad choice… well, I can deal with that.
Another lesson I didn’t expect was about resiliency. What happened to my hair in May showed me that if my hair can come back just as strong as it was before, after being completely damaged, surely I can stay strong in the face of adversity. It may take time to rebuild and find strength, but it is possible. Even when you lose, you ultimately win. You come out wiser and stronger. You just have to hang in there and realize that it takes time.
My hair has also taught me that loving myself is something that resides deep within me. It’s not about my hair. Sure, hair matters, and I will admit that it plays a major roll in my life. But being able to truly love myself and feel comfortable in my own skin has nothing to do with my hair. Whether it is super long or super short, super thick or super thin, I have to be able to be able to love myself in a way that remains consistent regardless of what’s happening on the outside. My outside might cause me to have a bad day or two, but I cannot let it affect how and why I love myself.
Take some time and think about what your hair has taught you about yourself in 2013 and what you hope to experience on your hair journey in 2014. Is it about love? Confidence? Acceptance? Resilience? Whatever it is, be grateful for the lessons learned, thank your hair, and enter the new year feeling like you are ready to take it on.