There’s a lot to be said about Birthing a Dream. I mean literally conceptualizing, praying over, gestating, planning and strategizing is all one thing. But once the baby is here, it must be protected, fed, cleaned, exposed to the right things at the right time and purged of the wrong things in good time. Here’s the thing about the latter part of the process (i.e. once the secret is out) EVERYONE IS GOING TO WANT A PIECE OF THE PIE.
So here’s another thing I’ve always struggled with – my beautiful African hair. I grew up knowing that sleek and slinky was the way to go. Blow dry it as straight as you can and hold your breath as long as you can because with my hair, that’s how long it stayed straight before shrinking into a ball of kink. As soon as I was able to and my parents would let me (because I stalked, cajoled, threatened, pleaded, blackmailed, cried and laughed hysterically until they let me), I permed it. Now don’t get me wrong – I’ve had chemical in my hair for most of my life so it’s not like I’m pointing fingers – this is about me and my journey – YOU DO YOU, IMMA DO ME!
I have had braids, corn rows, weaves (the good, the bad, the scary and the plain UGLY). I grew dreadlocks for a few years. The point is, I always gravitated towards the natural even as I held the treated hair in place and looked fabulous in it. I’ve had it short, medium and long. I have colored, cut, twisted and done all sorts of stuff to it (poor hair). Then early last year I had enough.
You see, a part of the hair journey is who does your hair. I’ve always had an easy time with male hairdressers but Lord knows some of them can be temperamental. My last one (the one who drove me over the edge) was so fantastic but not consistent. I once booked an appointment, showed up on time, waited for over an hour for him to show up, all the while calling to no avail only for him to tell me that he’d gone out the night before and gotten into a fight – but it wasn’t his fault – so can I come back tomorrow? I have only one thing to say to that – WHAT ARE YOU SMOKING? So since I’ve always also been fond of the blade, I waited till my favorite hairdresser cum barber came to sort my dad out, then I sat in his chair and told him to CHOP IT OFF. It was quite the ordeal. I cut it so short that my darling Daddy told me to stop – I had nothing left to cut. My hair was just as short as his – and he likes to keep his extremely low.
Since that journey began, I have had everyone (and their Mama) tell me what to do with my natural hair, how to do it, why I should do it and if I should do it (mostly friendly UNSOLICITED advise. I have had complete strangers walk up to me and want to touch my hair, feel if it’s a wig / weave, dig into my scalp, sniff it, poke it, stare at it, point at it, sneer at it, look disapprovingly at it, turn away from it in disdain.
Here’s the thing – just like the dream, the hair on my head and the head upon which it sits – IS MINE. Just because it is visible to all does not mean it is accessible to any. Just because it may entertain or fascinate or be a source of true admiration, doesn’t mean it should be used as the way to pass your time at my very painful and sometimes super costly expense.
My mother doesn’t understand it. In fact, she NOT SO SECRETLY mourns for my pretty hair – the one that actually gets combed. She doesn’t necessarily advocate for chemicals but can I at least brush it or comb it or braid it or something? My father gave up – so apart from the odd bemused comment (every time I come home from the hair dresser) about why would I waste money and come home still looking shaggy, he looks away or laughs openly.
The work of getting it accepted (or not) or getting it in order (or not) is left unto me. And work it is! So here’s my point. The work of getting your dream accepted (or not) and getting it in order (or not) IS ENTIRELY UP TO YOU! Nobody else has the passion that you do. Nobody else sees the vision as clearly as you do. Nobody else feels the need to fix that problem or the insatiable desire to eliminate that challenge. Nobody lives, breathes and sweats it like you do. Do you know why? because ONLY YOU WERE CREATED TO FIX IT!
I now wear my dream loud and proud just like I wear my hair. The disorder in the kinks and curls is order in itself. The decision to fix a flower here and a bow there gives confidence where otherwise nobody would think it. The decision on how long or short or what color is entirely unto me. I must decide what direction this life will take – both in my hair, and with my vision. I must daily breath life into it. I must daily strategize. I must find the resources to fund it. I must see it grown and overwhelming me. I must see the bigness of the end without knowing the clarity of the path. On top of Believing, I MUST PUSH IT OUT!
So today, I dare you to push. A wise friend – Jinna is her name – once told me: Sometimes you must knock on door after door until one opens. BUT SOMETIMES YOU MUST BUILD THE DOOR, THEN KNOCK ON IT UNTIL IT OPENS. Today, build the door, knock relentlessly and when it opens, push your way through. Success is on the other side waiting to be chased, caught and embraces. But YOU MUST PUSH!
You are Beautiful – Empowered – Visionary
You are @BeautifulPetal_