If my inner state of being had been on display, it would look as though I was fist fighting the air, mumbling and grumbling about how unhappy I was. Disconnected and discontented, I despised doing work everyday that held little interest to me, living in a place I felt I had long outgrown. My spirit was agitated and wanted an out. I was frustrated that I didn’t know my life’s purpose: that one thing that would give my life meaning and stir my soul day in and day out. And because I didn’t know what that thing was, how could I work passionately towards it? How could I work towards being great and leave a legacy that ‘I was here?’ I mean, that’s what life is all about, right?
It’s just a week short of 2 months since I cut my hair. When I look at my reflection, I no longer have to stare for a minute or longer to process ‘wow, that’s really me.’ Today, the girl staring back — or is she a woman, now?— is still a curious figure, but I like her vibe. As I’d hope, walking in this new hair has taught me quite a bit about womanhood and life in general. I thought I’d share…
(You’ll also see I snuck in more photos from my awesome shoot with Tonjanika Smith Photography).
Women cut their hair everyday. And yet, I bet most of those women felt they had participated in some new, revolutionary act that had never been done before. One hand pressed against heart’s center, and the other with a fist full of newly chopped locs held in the air. That’s what the process felt like for me. Cutting my hair was my personal mini-revolution, and as overplayed as that sounds, I’ll accept that it was my story.
Introspective to a fault, I can usually tell when I’m in the grips of a bad habit, but this time I was so caught up. I didn’t recognize it till a friend confronted me with “Didn’t you write a blog post about not doing that?” I rationalized and made excuses. But I knew they were right. What wrongdoing was I up to, you ask? I was fervently looking up grad school programs. Just awful, I know.
17 saw me at what I thought was my worst. I couldn’t eat, or sleep and couldn’t stand being near open windows in tall buildings for what my thoughts might have me do. In my frantic, panicked calls to friends and family, what I desperately wanted to hear most of all was “I’ve been there. I understand. There is joy worth experiencing on the other side of this turmoil.”
Thank you, for loving me. Thank you for opening up my mind’s eye to the possibility that I can be loved. That there is so much lovable light inside me worthy of the admiration that earnestly says and lives out louder: I. Love. You.
I stepped outside my comfort zone recently, and guess what? It was awesome!
A friend of mine from college, Kerubo, started a YouTube channel called ‘Dadas Lounge.’ Dada means ‘sister’ in Swahili, and the Lounge is an online community of young women sharing raw conversations with the world. When Kerubo tapped me to be featured in one of the videos based on a blog post I wrote about Comparing Yourself, of course I was nervous. I’m a behind-the-camera kind of girl. A writer, not so much a speaker. But I relished the opportunity to collaborate with another vlogger/blogger.
And we had an epic time.
It’s human nature for us to assume so much about other people’s temperaments (and literally everything else) based on their ethnic and racial background. It’s a quick way of getting to know people, without of course, actually getting to know them. But on the receiving end of stereotyping, one’s sense of individuality can be diminished. My case in point:
If you’re like me, you scroll through your Instagram feed and like all the inspirational posts on self-love and self-care (such buzzwords in our generation). You have a momentary ah-hah moment, and shortly after, continue your life just as before, never fully internalizing what it truly means to love yourself. When so much else in life is a priority – work, school, family, lovers, and children (4-legged ones included) – what necessitates a need to make yourself a priority? After all, you’ve survived (and perhaps had periods of thriving) all your life without ever truly caring for yourself intentionally. But sometimes life hits you with a curveball disabling the crutch you once held dear. Maybe it’s a whisper from within, or maybe that Instagram picture does inspire an awakening, but somehow, it becomes devastatingly clear: “I am not OK.”
I went to church for the first time in a long time. A very long time. I’d reached somewhere close to my wit’s end, trying to make sense of life on my own, coming short of any answers that put my heart and mind at ease. And that’s what I’d been chasing all along. This sense of peace.