No, I didn’t freeze my entire city, run off and then create my own frozen castle while embracing fabulous powers that I’d been hiding for years but I did break through my own mold and let go of a lot. I also did embrace some pretty fabulous things about myself that lead to even more fabulousness. But what am I talking about, right?
Some might think this isn’t a big thing and for many it may not be but for me, it was huge.
Breaking through the barriers I had on myself
On Saturday morning, I woke up to a medium length, curly frock that I hadn’t washed in 5 days. When you’re a natural haired woman, washing your hair is quite a feat that involves tools, products, and most of all, time. I love my hair and try really hard to take good care of it so that it will love me back but bleaching, coloring, not sleeping on satin really takes a toll on one’s curls. I thought I wanted long hair because the curls had become so much of my identity. But Saturday after a lovely thrifting trip, I had my India Arie “I am not my hair” moment and had the poor lady at Great Clips questioning her career as she snipped away the fears of boldness that I had grown with every inch of my hair.
I am not my hair. My hair is not me.
This was the first of many barriers that I broke this weekend.
I had the honor of reading in front of hundreds for the Listen To Your Mother production on April 23. I made my outfit and was really proud of it. I’m not sure why I thought that in the span of a couple days I would all of a sudden lose 100lbs and be this svelte mama ready to rock a crop top. But Saturday came and I still had the fluff. But you know what? I put my crop top that I made on with my flare pants and rocked the hell out of my reading as both my story and rolls made their debut.
I am a plus-sized woman and I wore a crop top. And I rocked the hell out of it. Proudly.
For so long I had subscribed to this standard of beauty that said that when I achieve it, I will feel proud to be myself. Then and only then would it be acceptable to no longer fear my truths because I would be pretty/skinny/strong/accomplished enough to stand on my two feet. But this weekend I basically said “eff that! I’m doing me and I’m doing it now!!!” And you know what? It feels pretty amazing.
Embracing my truths
Sure, cutting my hair could be seen as a symbolic gesture of something or another. I could make up some deeply rooted attachment for what hair meant and no longer means to me. But I want to walk in my truths now and no longer fear judgement because of it.
I like my hair short.
Whew! So liberating that is!!! This is my truth. I simply like short hair. But I had brainwashed myself so long that I needed my hair to be long. Not because my husband liked it. Not because I liked it. But because it was part of this mold that I had created for myself.
I wanted to be safe. I wanted to be the safe black girl with curly hair that gets along with everyone and offends no one. Safe from being targeted from racial slurs as I walk through the parking lot with my peanut butter skinned daughters. Safe from being labeled the “angry black woman” when there’s a lot that angers me. Safe from having to feel strongly about anything but my family.
But that’s not me.
I’m a fiery, passionate woman that cares about a lot. I care about the homeless man that I drove past with a backpack and dog who had a sign that said “Will Work for Food for My Dog”. Not himself, his dog. I care about the black women being exploited in the meat industry. I care about my friends being called racial slurs as they walk through the gym parking lot. I care. And I’m not safe.
I “Let It Go” and broke MY mold
I was talking to the hubs and he was asking if I felt like I had to play it nice all the time or have long hair because that’s what society deemed appropriate and I couldn’t have disagreed more. I don’t believe in being held down by societal expectations. But it was me that had created this mold for myself and I did it because I wanted to be liked. I wanted to be accepted. I wanted to be “that” mom. You know the one–flawless hair, always put together, adorbs even in her top knot and yoga pants as she brought perfectly baked cupcakes in for her kid’s birthday. But you know what? I hate doing hair and I’m not always put together BUT I’M STILL BEAUTIFUL AND WONDERFUL AND SMART AND INCREDIBLY TALENTED!!! And capable of creating stellar run on sentences. And not to take away from “that” mom. But that’s just never been who I am. In college, I wore socks and shower shoes and sweats every day to class. I thought I looked amazing. I was also significantly smaller with a larger amount of self-confidence but you get where I’m going.
I had to break my mold this weekend so that the real me could breathe and exist and grow. April has been an incredibly tough month but you know what? Those tears from April have watered the seeds that I’ve planted in life and May I’ve got my baskets ready to pick the blooming flowers because I “Let It Go“.