August 25, 2017 was the day of my 23rd birthday. Three weeks leading up to it I began to notice my hair was shedding. At first it wasn’t that bad but then my hair began to break off in different spots. Unbeknownst to me and my stylist it was breaking off because the product was too strong for my hair.
The week of my birthday, my hair began to come out at a much faster rate. To my horror, it was to the point that if I ran my fingers through it clumps of hair would come out.
this all in different spots of my head.
Of course I was on an emotional roller-coaster and crying most of the time because my hair was literally coming out and there was nothing I could do to stop it, but through it all I learned some lessons.
1. Life doesn’t stop, even in a mini-crisis.
During the week of my birthday, life was still going on even though I was in a mini crisis. I was featured as a guest on an awesome podcast (Somethin’ 2 Say Podcast) and discussed our favorite Sunday night shows: Insecure, Ballers, Power and Game of Thrones as well as sports focusing on the massive NBA trade. At first, I was tempted to reschedule but with the massive trade being a “hot topic” I knew I needed to pull through. I discovered that even though I was going through a lot emotionally and feeling down, I was still able to pull through it and shine while doing something I love. In spite of how I felt that day, I held my head up high and pushed through my feelings to create a great show.
2. Crying is okay.
It’s terrible, but I really hate to exude certain emotions. Last week I cried more than I had in a while, from that I learned that it’s okay to show and release emotions. I wasn’t just crying because my hair was breaking off, but because I felt that bad things were happening right after another. I learned that expressing emotions doesn’t make you weak. There’s more strength in the honesty and sincerity of standing in the truth of our emotions, rather than masking them.
3. Face your fears and get out of your comfort zone.
Sometimes different experiences have to occur to push us out of our comfort zones. For me, one of my comfort zones is my hair. Yes, my hair has been short before but over time I became apprehensive about cutting it. Over time, I began to feel like I needed my hair to reach a certain length to feel “pretty”, which is far from the truth. I began to feel comfortable with my hair being a certain length and essentially hiding behind my hair. Truth be told, I’ve always felt more confident and daring with my hair shorter because it’s a reflection of my spunky personality. After getting over the initial shock of having to rebuild my hair from the damage, I became excited about the idea of revisiting myself with short hair. I kept thinking to myself, “I really want to cut it again”, but deep down I was scared it wasn’t going to look as good as before. Ironically, everyone that knows me actually prefers the shorter look and this experience pushed me to appreciate all versions of myself.
4. Sometimes we scare ourselves too much
During this whole process, I was freaking out because of how bad I thought the breakage was. It was very bad, but I learned that things happen that aren’t in our control. I had to learn that even though I plan for everything, this of course was something I couldn’t plan for. Things we don’t plan for are going to happen but we can’t beat ourselves up because of it. I ended up cutting my hair and when I sat in my childhood stylist’s chair she said “It’s just hair boo, it’ll grow back. I know how black women are about their hair but it’s going to grow back healthy. We just have to strengthen it. Lucky for you, you can work both long and short hair.” I took her words not only about my hair but about everything, no matter how bad a situation is it’ll get better, you just have to strengthen yourself to work through it. We all have a strength and resiliency in us to push through different situations. I can honestly look back on this past week and say that I’ve grown more. I learned that life happens, but the key is to navigate through it and not let it rule you.
Now, I’m embracing my short hair because I love how it represents me. In essence, my return to shorter hair is a new beginning for me. It’s my little personal birthday gift for going back to my authentic self.