last month i straightened my hair. and while i loved it, i hated it. when i looked at my hair after straightening it, my thoughts on it were quite conflicted. after thinking about why, the answer made perfect sense.
growing up i hated my hair (yes, i know hate is a strong word, that's why i used it. sadly, that's exactly how i felt). it was too curly, too hard to comb, too dark, too long, too short, took too long to wash, too big, and the list goes on and on and on. to remedy my hatred towards by hair, i changed it as much as a could to get away from just curls. from age 4 to about 13 my hair was always either straight or braided. every now and then at 12 and 13 i tried to do it curly, but it was so unfamiliar to me i didn't even know where to start. well, where to start was age 14, cause that's when my mom told me i had to learn how to do my own hair, and she was very kind to have even let me wait that long! i can actually remember my first time getting in the shower to wash my own hair. i took down my braids, tossed all those (awful!!!) rubber bands, and i got under the water. the weight of the water dragged my hair down to a length i didn't often see, and a texture i didn't want to see. i remember looking at my reflection in the showerhead and feeling so confused. i didn't recognize the version of myself looking back at me, and it's not because it was distorted by the water.
the most authentic version of myself was unfamiliar to me.
as a 13/14 year old, up to that point i hadn't had many reasons to cry in the shower, save fake tears for my dramatic music video (in my head of course). this time, however, i didn't need to listen to a sad song to get emotional. there were so many thoughts swirling in my head like the water around the drain. "i hate myself. i hate my hair. i hate that i hate myself. why did i have to be given hair like this? why couldn't i have 2b hair like everyone else? why do i want to be like everyone else? why is my real hair the most foreign to me? i hate that i have it and i hate that i hate it."
i'm sure i don't need to go on much further for you to get the gist of it- i hated myself and i hated that i hated myself. can you relate? self-hatred is cyclical. the fact that you hate yourself will make you hate yourself because at your core you were made for love and to love. you were designed with such purpose and intentionality in every detail. God hand curled your hair, He painted each freckle one by one. He picked out the shade of pink your cheeks would turn when your crush walked in the room. He selected the palette of blues your eyes would be in the spring and the shade of blonde your hair would turn in the summer. you didn't just happen, i didn't just happen. this is why hating is a cycle. when you hate yourself, that's your flesh hating your flesh, but your spirit knows it was made for love and to love, to love God and itself! so your spirit fights back because God hates that the lies the enemy is throwing at you are sticking. He hates that the truth has been obscured. hating that you hate yourself is actually your spirit fighting back against the lie, it just comes out as hatred because hello, we're still human and our emotions haven't all been completely refined. all that to say, deep down you know. you know the truth and now you have to let it set you free. who knows, maybe it could be as simple as stepping out the shower.
since that day at age 14 i told myself i had to learn. i had to learn how to do my hair, i had to learn how to rock my hair and i had to learn how to love my hair. easier said than done though, and it was a lot harder than detangling a few knots. i had to let God refine and heal my thoughts and feelings towards myself i'd had since childhood and i had to let Him instill in me a love for myself that wasn't wordly. self-love has become a huge deal in our culture, and while loving yourself is good and we're actually called to do it, God didn't intend for it to look like bubble baths, binging netflix and eating whatever makes you happy. He called you to love, and gave us the example in Christ. look at it this way, if you are made in God's image and likeness, and God has created and called you to love Him and be loved by Him, then you are also called to love yourself!
so fast forward, i learned. practically, i can wash, comb, style and even cut my own hair. more practically, i finally grasped the truth that the way i was made was intentional. i love my hair and the ridiculous number of things i can do with it. i also learned that doing new things, even things like braiding and straightening like i did in the past, doesn't mean that i'm hiding from who i am, it just means i'm appreciating the diversity of what i can do. maybe i'm the only who thinks about why they're styling their hair a certain way, and this blog is just so you get to see how much i think waaaaayyy to deeply into literally everything. but maybe i'm not. maybe you too have hidden behind your hair, your style, your makeup, or even your personality because you don't like who you were made to be for xyz reason. in that case, then this is for you. i get it, everyone's hair seems easier to do than yours, everyone's skin is naturally smoother or a prettier tone, everyone's body was built better than yours, but hunny (no, i didn't misspell honey, this is the way i spell it when i call people that hehe), that's only perspective. if everyone thinks everyone is better than them, then someone is wishing they were you! so i'd suggest learning to love yourself and do it as soon as possible, because the sooner you love yourself, that's that much sooner you get to live your life for a purpose other than trying to look and be more like *insert name here*. i daresay loving life is almost impossible without loving yourself.
i'll leave you with this. a few years ago i had a friend struggling with the same thing i just talked about. she hated herself, her personality, her skin, her hair, everything. what i told her is something that i think about almost daily. it's running through my mind when i'm doing my hair, or trying to tame it, when i think about all the things i'd rather be, the color skin i'd rather be or the hair type i'd rather have, it's also the name of my curly hair pinterest board haha:
your natural is your best beautiful
oh, and in case you were wondering, this life lesson is what birthed the "identity" painting.