Weaving Patterns; What I’m Taking & What I’m Leaving.

Lifestyle

For a long time, I have studied several patterns in my family. While some are unique to my family, others are quite common. Patterns in the way children are oblivious to the hardship of their parents. The way they are innocent and curious; asking why they share different last names with their siblings or have features that aren’t the same. The way they play, share and care for each other. The way they disagree, fight then reconcile in that same hour. The way in which they understand no real danger.

I have spent time studying patterns like the way women have been the head of our homes for the last four generations. The way these women play double roles and perform exceptionally at them. The way men are absent from their capacities as a brother, father or role model. The way the girls strive to emulate the women but boys have not a single man to look up to. The way the last wedding was almost two decades ago and how we have adopted a ‘live-home’ culture. The way money is budgeted to overcome debts and ensure a good education.

Above these, the way our grandmother loves us so much yet never spared us a good ‘cut ass’ and the way we choose family over logic. The way we stop talking then start talking again without ever discussing what happened to open the door for healing. The way we support each other in all our endeavors, never believing any dream is too big. The way we share every part of our lives with each other and laugh at our ‘bung’ jokes together. The assurance we can look forward to always hearing our grandmother say “Don’t worry, you did your best” even when we feel like the biggest failure.

Like every family, mine is made up of a myriad of patterns; tightly woven. As an adult, I have decided to weave only some of those patterns into my fabric. The rest of them, I pray become lost in time. For the sake of the generations that proceed me, I cannot continue to weave patterns of poverty, neglect, hurt or anything that will cause us to suffer. I must weave patterns of love, discipline, support and those patterns that will make us greater.

In doing so, I may have to say no when the opposite seems softer. I will speak my truth in its rawness even if I’m thought of as rude or rebellious. Not taking for granted, I may err in my attempts to make things better; I intend to weave the good patterns and untangle those that serve me no longer.

Me; With Or Without Hair!

Lifestyle

Today I raise my glass to celebrate one year since I nervously sat in front of my younger sister with a pair of scissors and the rest as they say; is history. It’s also what I believe has undoubtedly been my bravest year thus far. I’ve done many things I thought I’d never do; including cutting all my hair off, quitting my job and leaving home. All of which, I am inexplicably proud of myself for mustering the courage to do.

My journey to natural hair has been one with many relapses. I’d gone months without relaxing only to become frustrated and throw in the towel. In fact, three years earlier, my younger sister had started hers and I thought she was equally brave and crazy. Although, admittedly, she has always been the former. Perhaps, in some way, her journey had slowly been preparing me for mine.

Last year, I decided that I would do it. Finally, do it this time! My plan included moving from mid-back length to bob without relaxing. During this time, I had many suggestions for products, styles, and salons. However, my greatest battle was overcoming the uncertainty of how I would look. Why would you cut your long hair? You able with your natural hair? You sure you know what you’re doing? were some frequent questions I was asked, and sometimes, I asked myself them too.

Today, without any hesitation I pen that I have loved every step of this process. From using and misusing my sister’s products to finally buying some of my own. I have enjoyed the soft, wet curls and impenetrable dry knots. Also, I have enjoyed the tapered look with that cute side part, the mini fro I currently have and trying my first twist out. In many ways, my hair or lack thereof, has given me the courage and confidence like never before.

My favourite part is inspiring others to cut their hair without worrying about how they would look because truthfully, you only look like yourself, with or without hair. Once at a health fair, a girl said “You’re brave. I can never do that”. The next time I saw her she was waving and shouting “I cut my hair! I cut my hair!”. I was happy to know I could help remind her that she was already enough of herself to care about anything else.

Eventually, I will stop cutting my hair and let the curls live. For now, I continue to shower from head to toe every day, seldom comb my hair, fiercely rock in all it’s untamed glory and encourage others to be confident with long hair, short hair or simply no hair at all. Really, it is a pity that we have believed all the crazy beauty standard notions are in many ways, conform to them.

Importantly, I’ve learned through doing this to never be so afraid of letting go of what you are accustomed to that you never have the courage to try new things and welcome new possibilities. Often, what comes back is better than whatever was! If you’re thinking of cutting your hair, just do it! If you’ve done it already, share your journey below.