I got my last relaxer in January of 2013. I remember thinking that I wouldn’t last without relaxers because my hair’s too thick and the extent of my hairdressing skills ended at flat ironing. I couldn’t handle a big chop-I love my hair and couldn’t imagine life without it so for over a year I kept my hair in braids as much as possible.

In May of 2014, I got the remaining relaxed hair cut off and saw my ‘fro for the first time. There are pictures of me as a child with this huge, thick ‘fro, but I don’t remember that. However, I do remember looking in the mirror on May 13th after the trim and thinking “Oh shit, what am I gonna do with this?!” Funny. The hairdresser looked me dead in my face and said “Oh, hell no. I’m going to braid this up a little because you’re gonna get out of my chair and go somewhere messing in your hair. No.” Clearly, we were on the same wave. She was right. I had no idea what I was doing with my hair but I quickly learned that I had to show my love for my hair. I had to take my time and really try. I developed a whole new love for my hair but most importantly, I developed a new love for myself and others.

I LOVE crowns. My ‘fro is my crown. God blessed me with the most beautiful crown that I’ve ever seen. I look in the mirror on bad days and I shake my hair until I laugh. When I’m washing it, I take my time and put my full attention and effort into getting my crown clean. I rub my scalp with coconut oil. I brush it out until it’s full and huge like a lion’s mane. I smile. I’ve learned to truly love my hair (on dry, scraggly days as well as beautiful lion’s mane days) which taught me to love myself. I take the time to put my full attention and effort into myself.

Here’s what happened:

The lessons that I learned when I was learning to love my hair taught me to love and appreciate others. You’re probably thinking, “How did being self-absorbed teach you to appreciate others?”I feel you. Hear me out, though.

To me, one of the most important facets of self-love is accepting your own imperfections and missteps. The moment you acknowledge your imperfections are a necessary evil that you shouldn’t dwell upon but learn from, is the moment you truly open the door for self-love. When you acknowledge that, you see others differently. Things that used to be unattractive or irritating become vehicles to a deeper understanding. The frustration you used to feel dissipates as you remember that people have bad days, make mistakes, and travel their own paths through a journey that you’ll never experience. They deserve love and compassion-the same love and compassion that we all want as we stumble through life and the challenges that come with it. Love yourself-truly and purely.

 

Photo Credit: Beautaplin IG

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