About six months ago I went to the hairdressers, my normal hairstylist was off sick and so I was allocated a stylist I’d not had before. He asked what I wanted done and I explained how I usually had it and he started to cut with vigor, the longer it went on the more worried I got but he was so confident I thought ‘he must know what he’s doing’. When it comes to drying my hair I usually just scrunch it and leave it dry, but he asked me to bend my head over so he could dry it upside down, by this time I was super worried, when I lifted my head up I had one big afro. He then patted it, tweaked it and hair-sprayed it until I was hit by the realization that he’d given me an old ladies hair do. I was horrified!
The cut was such that it reacted to every wave and kink, curling in ways that the style did not intend, but my hair took it there regardless. Clearly this guy did not take the time to notice all the kinks and curls I have already, but cut to some style he had in his head as being ‘universal’ and ‘one size fits all’.
As I sat in front of the mirror and fully took in what I considered to be, the mess of my hair, I realized that it would take six months to grow out and there was nothing to be done, I was stuck with it. I could feel that I had started to shut myself down as a woman. My thoughts ran along like ‘How can any woman have a hair do like that!’ and ‘That’s more like a man’s hair cut than a woman’s’. With that thought I brought myself up short and said:
‘No! No bad hair-do is going to define me as a woman. I am far more and far greater than any bad hair day, even if the bad hair day goes on for six months or a year, or ten years’.
Immediately I chose to re-connect with my own tenderness and the gentleness of my own breath. The hardness with which I had judged myself started to melt and my appreciation of myself as a beautiful fragile woman filled my body. Connecting with my tender innermost me, I knew with every cell in my body that I am far more than any bad haircut can affect.
I could see just how attached and identified I have been to my hair, believing that my value of me as a woman is related to my hair. This is so far from the truth it’s laughable.
Until recently, I had a hairstyle that I meticulously straightened every morning until each hair was in perfect place. I did this year after year until my hair started to damage so much that I knew I had to stop or else end up with bald patches. I went au natural – with the support of a range of hair products!
But no hair products were going to change this bad haircut, and it was only me that was defining it as such in any case. No one screamed in horror when I went back into work afterwards, or gasped as I walked through town. It was just me who had judged it as bad. And just as easily, I refused to accept a view of myself as being bad, wrong or less than I was before.
The following morning, looking at my ‘bad hair cut’ with bed-head, the greatest thing I discovered was that there is nothing outside of me that can determine just how amazing, beauty-full and gorgeous I am as a woman. This is not to blow my own trumpet or make me out to be better than anyone else or even ‘rah-rah’ myself up, none of these actually work longer than a moment or two and they leave us feeling worse in any case.
No, there was something far deeper going on here, and that was the acceptance of me as a beauty-filled woman, regardless of my hair, my clothes, my teeth or my skin. None of these could affect this gorgeous, fragile, tender woman that I have become because of my choices to value and appreciate myself.
This article was inspired by Natalie Benhayon, who has shown me so many times that connecting to the inside is ‘it’ – for good, bad or even no hair days.
by Ariana Ray
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