to unabashedly love myself through it all

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It seems as though it is the general consensus that 2017 was a year of immense growth coupled with incredible suffering; for me it was no different. During the first half I decided to wear only my natural hair instead of various forms of extensions/braided hairstyles, until I came to a point where I found myself wholly acknowledging my own beauty, accepting my little afro. It was hard, but I overcame…

It’s funny to me, how when it seems as though we are victorious, there comes one “last” giant test to win the battle, or “level up” in this journey of life. For me, it came in the form of Celiac Disease, where my scalp began to react to certain shampoos and I would scratch/pick at my hair. Couple that with an excessive amount of stress and you have yourself a recipe for trichotillomania, at least in my case. I have, for as long as I can remember, sporadically picked at my eyebrows, only to realize this happened when I looked and one eyebrow was barren at the top in comparison to the other. Once I noticed this, after looking down countless times at my shirt to notice it covered in hair and my partner encouraging me to get my fingers away from my scalp, I installed dreadlocks in hopes that when I got them out I would no longer subconsciously pick.

... However, right after I installed these dreadlocks - in hopes that I could cover my tracks out of a bad habit - I noticed again, countless times a day, hair on my shirt - a reminder to keep my fingers away from my hair.

Nothing had changed.

My mindset hadn’t changed.

Until finally, the dust had settled from 2017 and I knew I had the mental fortitude/time. Because let's be real y’all, mental health is everything, but time heals all. I decided I was no longer going to consciously feed my anxiety. I would have more time now that I had graduated and the universe had given me more time to breathe. My soul, however, needed to recharge I needed to have healthy hair again, and not subconsciously pick. I toyed with the idea of dreadlocks again (fauxlock really), because c'mon I looked GOOD. But my soul needed more than that, it needed a boost.

I found this decision I was playing around with in my mind to be a shadow of who I fought to no longer be, someone who depended on longer hair to feel feminine, to feel beautiful. Although my intentions were fueled by love there was also a lot of anxiety and fear in there, because my hair was in bad shape. But my health was more important, and I was putting it in jeopardy. So, I decided to shave my hair. I didn’t make a big fuss about it. I just told Stephen, the day before we went, that it was something I intended to do and something I was sure about. I also texted a few friends who I knew I would see the following day that, saying that this was something I was going to do, to keep me accountable. And let me tell you…

I feel the same, by the same I mean like myself. I feel like a warrior woman. Because I chose to still find beauty, genuine, undeniable, raw organic, non-GMO beauty in myself despite societies standards, not just the western painting of beauty but a standard mirrored in even the most free-thinking open-minded corners of the world. If you find yourself stuck between societies agreements and yourself, always choose yourself. Self-love is everything. If it really is all a dream, participate, lucid dream and form your own reality. To unabashedly love thyself and honor your truth is the greatest way to honor yourself, and this life.

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