Monday, October 11, 2010

Hard To Love

It has not been an easy week. If you're familiar with my newly declared year-long journey, then you know I've recently made some drastic changes. The most so is my decision to go from wearing weaves/wigs for the better part of my adulthood, to wearing my own natural hair. My thin, sparse, now short hair.

The reason it's been so difficult is this: I don't know who I am without the long, luscious, diva hair. That's who I have come to think of myself as being. When I look in the mirror, I expect to see her. But she's not there anymore. It's very similar to mourning a loss. You may think I'm kidding, but I'm not. It's like that woman died a week ago and the person who remains is a stranger.

How do you move on when your better half dies? She was so confident and secure. She was sexy and desirable. She was aggressive and fun. She turned heads everywhere she went. I needed her, but I killed her and in her place is a fat, aging, insecure, uninteresting, plain woman. No one looked at me this week. I think if I hadn't talked to people, they would have hardly noticed I was there.

The hardest part wasn't letting strangers see me "uncoifed" (yes, I totally made up that word), it was being seen by people I know. People who know I don't usually look so...blah. Nobody said anything, except my husband, kids, and sister in encouragement, but that didn't stop me from feeling self-conscious. I felt like they were thinking, "What the hell happened to her? Is she sick? Is she dying? She sure as hell looks like she's dying."

I was so depressed. It seemed silly to be depressed over my appearance when there are people starving and living in poverty and abuse, but there it was. By the end of the week, I was in tears. Actually, it didn't take a whole week to reduce me to a pile of mush. It was closer to four days.

So after all the depression and self-loathing, after all the tears and arguments with my husband for not understanding, I couldn't do it. I lasted exactly a week. I decided that going from one extreme to the other was too drastic, too soon. Cold turkey is not for me. Sure, it worked for smoking, but that wasn't as big a part of my identity as this.

The result: I cut the back of my hair shorter and in layers for a little more volume and I have extensions (tracks if you will) on the left side of my head, so that my hairstyle is asymmetrical and full in the front where the natural hair is extremely sparse. It's not a full-blown Beyonce weave, but I don't look 55 years old anymore.

Now, I'm fully aware that the reason no one noticed me this week is less my appearance and more my attitude about my appearance. Unfortunately, my confidence is connected to the way I look. I can be fat with gorgeous hair or I can be thin with short hair, but I can't be either with thin, sparse hair. Until I change this about myself, extremes won't work for me.

Now I understand why it's called a happy medium.

Until next week,
Feed on love; subsist on peace


  1. It's your decision and you do what makes you happy and comfortable. It took me 3yrs to go natural. I always said I wasn't grown enough that's why it took me so long. I think you are courageous for putting forth the effort.

  2. I so know where you are coming from. And even though it seems so vain, I can't help it. It's been a rough year for me as well. I was a performer for most of my teen and adult life. Who I was hinged on my appearance. It was the one thing I had. This year I dropped down to 117 lbs. At 6'2" you can imagine what that looked like: not cute. Then my teeth started falling out and breaking. Then while in the hospital, they had me on some damned Chemo drug to combat the HIV and my hair started falling out. I am a FREAK about my hair. I could fake all the other stuff but when I started losing clumps upon clumps of hair, I about lost it. I wore wraps and rags and headbands and whatever the hell I could to try to hide. I didn't know what I was going to do. I wouldn't even look in a mirror for a long time. It wasn't me in there.

    I am not back to my dragilicious, glamazon self by any means now, but I am coming back around it seems... Slowly but surely.

    But it really did put a huge ding in who I thought I was... I am only just now learning to deal with it.

    Hang in there, love.

  3. @Nicole- you have been so wonderfully supportive. Thank you so much. It's a shame that we weren't friends when you lived in Baltimore, but I'd like to think we are now.

    @Rabbit- every time you write something, I love you a little bit more. Thank you so much for sharing something so incredibly personal with me. I pray for your continued strength and healing. And thank you also for understanding. That means a lot to me.


Let me hear your voice.