My earliest memories of my hair are filled with pain of varying degrees. As a young child, the day started with the torture of having braids put in so tight that a simple head nod felt like my hair would literally be ripped from the base of my neck. This would be followed by the daily experience of having the joy of running and playing with friends interrupted by a smack to the face by the hard plastic “bobbles” attached to the ends of my braids to keep them from unraveling during the day. Not good.
During my teen years, I entered the phase of having my hair “relaxed”, a process that not only smelled bad, but required me to provide moment-to-moment updates regarding the extent of the burn, to ensure that the chemicals did not stay on the hair too long. One moment too long and my hair could literally be burned off my head. Burned. Off. My Head! Crazy!
All of the pain and torture, was in service of taming my unruly hair… of making my “bad hair” look as “good” (aka straight and ‘white’) as possible. I don’t think I have to spell out for you how the implicit messaging can really mess with a young girl’s self esteem.
To top it all off, the first trip to the salon gave me a reality check for which I was not prepared. As I sat waiting for my turn, looking at all of the beautiful pop stars and models in the pages of the black hair magazine I was given, thinking about what style I was going to be rocking when I left, I was told that none of it was possible. I kid you not..for every picture I pointed to, I was told that what was being shown was not her hair. Every single hair style I wanted was a wig or a weave. What what?!!
It was my younger sister’s decision to challenge and explore her own hair journey that gave me the courage to stop the madness and appreciate the beauty of my natural hair. And she started with a simple question: “What was my hair like as a child?” After years of various processes that transformed the true nature of her hair, this question and the willingness to explore it seriously, ultimately led her to get back to her “hair truth” so to speak, which was an abundance of soft natural curls and, more importantly, a new found freedom.
Interestingly, that question that explores what we were like at the beginning, before all the adults and society around us had too much say, is something that I regular ask my clients to help understand the essence of their authentic selves. As we work together to discover and reconnect with the authentic self, and the person starts to honour their truth with aligned action, the outcome is the same: a life of greater ease, confidence and flow.
The roots of our relationship with our hair run deep y’all. It has taken me until mid-life to really start to love mine. And as life would have it, just as I started to really understand how to care for it, the greys have started to appear. So now, thanks to my hair, I find myself challenged to confront an aspect of my life that a combination of good genes and a healthy lifestyle have managed to keep at bay…the inevitable signs of ageing. Thank you Hair for forcing me to wrestle with this issue and make a conscious choice about how I want to grow forward, with or without the greys, and for giving me the nudge I needed to explore this hair journey. There is clearly more inner work to do.
Interested in exploring your own hair journey? Let me know in the comments below or by emailing me directly. I would love to dive in to this topic with you through expressive writing, the best tool I know for accessing our truth, and in this case, exploring the role of Hair as a way of connecting with and understanding the authentic self. So join me and some other lovely beings for an experience that is sure to elevate and inspire. Your hair and your soul will thank you.
Your Fellow Seeker,