This week’s blog centres on acceptance. Over the last few months, I have been really introspective. Examining who I am, what defines me, where am I going on this journey of life? To do this, I have had to hold the mirror up and examine what I see. Do I like what I see? Do I recognise who I am? Can I see the inner child in me?
During this process, I saw a picture of myself, the one you can see below. I was in 1st year of secondary (yes, it was before school years ran from year 1 – 13). I was transported back to a time where I remembered how much fun life was and how free I felt… I was me. The thing that also struck me was the amount of hair that I had at that time too.
I had a flash of memories that came flooding back to me about my hair. I wore it B-I-G, like a lion’s mane. Sadly, I now recognise I quickly conformed to what the expectations of others were! From that point on I never had my hair longer than a grade 2 on top with a skin fade. It was safer that way…
In November 2021, a voice in my head started saying “This isnt you!” It was about the same time I bought two POP! Characters for my desk. Sanka of Cool Runnings fame; and Erik Killmonger from Black Panther, both wore their hair loud and proud. The message was there, I just hadn’t understood it… yet!
As the Christmas break began I engaged in some Netflix, tuning into Colin Kaepernick’s Black and White series where he talks about pressing issues in today’s society whilst simultaneously telling his story growing up. His hair was a big issue of identity for him, being adopted and raised by white parents who simply didn’t understand. It was then it HIT ME… I had accepted other people’s opinion and views on my hair when I was younger, rather than accepting who I was; what felt comfortable, what I liked.
My hair wasn’t like my friends or families. Suppressed feelings of shame, frustration and anger came to the surface. This had affected me deeper than I knew… and I had buried those feelings…. DEEEEEEP! I chose to conform to the expectations of others; keeping my hair low so that the name calling, the touching/pulling of my hair and the snide comments went away.
In that moment, I had an acceptance of what I had done to survive; who I had become to ‘fit in’. Decision time. I pride myself on being authentic… but I wasn’t. I accepted I needed to make a change; to make amends with that smiley child you see above and below, the one I had denied for 30+ years. I caught a glimpse of him in the mirror that day. That inner child sat up, took notice and smiled back at me.
December 20th 2021 – the day I decided that I was going to grow my hair! After all, how can I campaign and advocate about school hair policies when I was denying my own?
I have accepted that my hair is my crown, and I will be wearing it with pride. I will no longer conform to the expectations of others or accept their vision of how my hair should be kept.
We are now into the fifth month of that process, with a way still to go… my ‘crown’ is only going to get bigger… watch this space as I grow through that ‘messy’ phase with ZERO F’s given!
I will leave you with the question of how/where can you cultivate acceptance in your own life? I urge you to notice your resistance to ideas/ideals, question your patterns and most importantly consider your inner child – have you denied them to ensure you fit in?