I would be lying if I said that this is how I expected my life to be. I’m grateful, but truthfully, most days I’m frustrated with myself. I can be so hard on myself, as if I could see the future when I was making decisions. I’m further along than many, but I’m far behind where I want to be. I’m in an endless cycle of burnout and exhaustion on this “journey” to figure out what actually matters to me. Healing isn’t always pretty. It’s not just hot baths, flights and flowers; some nights, it’s crying in the mirror and saying all the things that you want to hear from someone else, until you feel safe and loved. This is the result of one of those nights.
“ I love you. I love you. I love you.” I’m sitting in front of the mirror. The room is illuminated by the dancing flicker of the flame from my chakra candles. Green for my heart. Orange for my Sacral. Nobody exists but me. Nobody is coming to “save me”. Tears fall, but I keep talking because I need to hear it to feel it. “ I love you. I love you. I love you. I forgive you. I forgive you for the times you didn’t listen to your intuition. I forgive you for putting the pleasure, joy, and well being of others ahead of your own. I believe in you. Today. Tomorrow. Every day. Clear the noise and know that I am proud of you.”
As a smile spreads freely across my face and the salt of my tears touches my taste buds, I am reminded that all is well.
Let this be a reminder to you: All is well. Though you may not feel it now, you are whole. You are loved. You are valued. Every day.
Small moments mean the world to me because I know what it’s like when those moments don’t happen. I ask you to help me build something or to teach me your perspective because those are moments we didn’t get before.
As I’m growing, I have learned to look at you as a man, not just my dad. That shift in perspective helps me see you. Not your mistakes or shortcomings, just you. It allows me to extend patience and speak freely.
You’re my dad, but I choose for you to be my homie.
This is my healing. This is me forgiving. This is us growing.
Every project completed and every honest conversation is a step forward.
I’m in therapy learning skills that allow me to navigate the blocks engrained in me since conception, but it’s out here with you that the heavy lifting happens. I never say it aloud-I get that whole “taking shit for granted” vibe from you, but I’m learning-but I appreciate the times you show up. I’m grateful for you and look forward to seeing you grow because you’re never too old to do your best.
Ay Da! Thanks for doing yard work and asking to take a picture with me on Easter, that’s major.
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.