by Shevon Simon, London, England
As I sit here twisting my hair I keep having thoughts of how beautiful it is and how beautiful I am.
What a turnaround!
The changes both in and towards myself began to occur three years ago, when I started regular sessions with an Esoteric Healing Practitioner in London. At this time my hair was at its worst. It was in its natural state as I had stopped all the pressing, chemical relaxing and even blow drying which had started at least 7-10 years earlier. However, my hair was still thinning and falling out. The purpose of having these healing sessions wasn’t to do with my hair at all, and in fact ‘my hair state’ was only ever mentioned once. The reason I chose to have these sessions was to feel better in my body, since at the time I was living with an enormous amount of emotional pain and stress. Slowly, slowly as I began to make changes in my life, and lifestyle, I turned my attention to my hair. I began by buying quality products, noticing the effects that such products had upon my hair, and also seeking professional help from a Trichologist. This all helped me to understand my hair, and what it needed to help repair it.
Today, I have come to love my hair just the way it is, with its natural curl and bounce!
What has been most fun has been the joy I experience with all the different styles I ‘accidentally’ come across just by playing around with it. And rather than copying styles verbatim from magazines, I have begun to trust how I want to style my hair and have started to let go of all the thoughts like, “I didn’t know what to do with it”, or that “the natural way I wanted to style it would be incorrect” etc.
Slowly, slowly I have let go of the urge to grab a magazine or search the internet for that reassurance. I’ve begun to trust how I want to have my hair and how my hands want to move when handling it – I have now discovered for myself the most amazing styles and love my own unique look and just how ‘bouncy’ both myself and my hair feel when rocking a new look!
After many years of pressing, straightening, blow drying, agonising and wishing for different hair, I hadn’t realised that by having such a strong desire for my hair to be different, I would so easily abuse my hair by putting it through such ‘experiences’.
As a young black girl growing up, I recall being compared to my peers in relation to how our hair was. One measure of our ‘goodness’ and ‘acceptability’ was shown through our hair in its texture, thickness and length. I grew up hearing a term called ‘good hair’. Having this ‘good hair’, was hair that was shoulder length or longer, thick and was silky soft. My own hair certainly was not all of these things; it was shorter than shoulder length and was described as ‘fine’. I felt excluded from the ‘good hair’ group and longed to see the glee in people’s eyes when they looked at me the same way I saw them look at other girls with the ‘good hair’. I decided I would do all I could to make my hair fit the perfect picture, which I now know was impossible, but at least I would have got 11 out of 10 for effort! I fantasised about having long hair and remember walking around the house around age 7 with a towel on my head, pretending my hair has was longer and had the flow I longed for. I believed that the more effort I put in, even if it was just a fantasy, that one day it would become true – and I would arrive!
When I moved into my teens I would pore over magazines – reading and buying lotions and potions that claimed to grow my hair. None of these ever worked. I began to turn in on myself more and more, as I literally closed down on myself. The more I did this, the worse I felt about myself and also my hair… and the more it started to experience breakage. I felt sad that I wasn’t like the others (I had compared myself with). My hair was just ONE area where I felt I didn’t fit in, and the sadder I became with things, the more my self-hatred developed and the more jealous I became of other girls…
Thinking back, I do recall a time around age 13 when I was staying with my cousin. As I styled my hair in the bathroom I remember actually enjoying myself as I stood in front of the mirror, thinking “Wow! your hair’s so soft!”. However, as soon as I stepped into the living room this feeling went out of the window when I was faced with my cousin – whose hair was longer than mine! I immediately went into comparison. With this fixed view that my hair ‘wasn’t good’, I felt rejection. And I equated my ‘not good hair’ with my actual self as being ‘not good’ enough.
I realise now, after my healing sessions, that there was never anything wrong with my hair or with me – only the lack of acceptance of its natural beauty, and also my own natural beauty…
As I sit here feeling its softness and strength, I thank myself for making the changes of taking the time to embrace, love and enjoy being with my hair, listening to myself, and starting to comb my hair in a gentle way. And as a result, I CAN appreciate it just as it is. Recently I have become more and more aware of how I stand in front of the mirror when combing my hair, as I have experienced how this affects not only how I feel and the thoughts I have about myself, but also thoughts about others too…
My hair has begun to flourish without any lotions and potions claiming to grow it! The major shift came when I stopped trying to make my hair different, even just fantasising about the very prospect, but instead deciding to take care of my hair whatever state it was in, and without having to ‘make it better’. Today I receive all sorts of comments from ‘your hair is so thick’, to ‘it looks so healthy’ and ‘it’s growing!’ I don’t seem to mind such comments, and I just smile and nod with a twinkle in my eye knowing that it’s all the care, love and attention I have taken that is shining through my now glorious hair.
This experience has left me feeling that whenever I think there is anything wrong with me and my life, I can use this as a blueprint to explore how I might not be accepting myself in other areas…
It’s funny, as I’ve always wanted people to accept me for just being me.
Perhaps to be full of self-acceptance for the beautiful woman I am beginning to feel myself to be today, was all that was ever needed. And with this there has been a lot of FUN along the way!