When I was 7 -- living in rural Michigan -- I was rejected from an all-white slumber party.
My second grade classmate's mother didn't know I was black until I showed up on her doorstep the afternoon of the party. Her daughter invited me, so she was still innocent to racism. She didn't know that her household -- her parents -- were not prepared to have a little black girl stay overnight in their home.
I remember the silent car ride home, trying to understand WHY I had been turned around, while the rest of my white class-mates were able to stay. It was a very shitty feeling, that stayed with me for 40 years. Not because I wanted to hold on to something like that, but because I didn't realize how deeply I had internalized that event.
Living a meditative life, combined with periodic entheogenic journeys, has enabled me to clearly see my patterns of limitation, low self-worth, and... expecting REJECTION as a default experience. If the rejection default had a root, I'm pretty sure getting bounced from that slumber party is where it got planted.
I feel compassionate solidarity with every kid who has been bullied, humiliated, or publicly hurt in some way. Let alone the far more abusive childhood traumas (violent and/or sexual) that happen more often than any 'civilized' world should allow.
Typically, you are expected to just carry on with life, which has become too fast and too insensitive to give a damn about the emotional consequences of childhood wounds.
Yet, those consequences show themselves in our relationships, coping mechanisms, choices, and persona. But the CAUSE tends to remain hidden or forgotten, until we're truly ready to face it.
Q: Why do we re-member hard things from long ago?
A: So we can mend whatever got dis-membered.
A meditative life -- living attentively -- positions us to make deep, healing sense out of our pain.
I've written before about having suffered consequences for showing up in corporate America with my hair unstraightened. I had the nerve to report to work one day with my hair in its natural state... and it was considered "unprofessional."
So that was the second time I went to a place I thought I had a right to be, only to be sent home for being myself.
I stuffed that undignified treatment down for a bunch of years, also...
...until May 2014, when I went to Miami Beach for sun and solitude (two things I have now organized my entire life around.) I forgot my flat-iron. Miami in May is about 80% humidity, so fellow big-haired ladies know what this means.
I headed to a drugstore to buy a replacement flat-iron because my room was right on the ocean, and the moisture was already making my hair swell and puff by the minute. As I got closer to the store, I thought about how much time I’d be wasting in the bathroom, fighting nature.
At the traffic-light (I have made several big life-choices at traffic lights for some reason…) at the traffic-light I decided: “No more heat. No more straightening. No more mighty efforts to fight the natural pattern of my hair… which is ANYthing but flat or straight.”
And ever since then, I have been practicing the acceptance of my nature. It has been very healing and freeing to simply allow my hair to be what it is.
A traditionally European/straight-haired standard of beauty had deemed my big, woolly hair 'unprofessional.' Of course that is ridiculous, but it prevailed because it was the accepted standard.
As more women learn to love ourselves JUST AS WE ARE, we change such ignorant standards... by being proud and unapologetic of what we were born with.
The image at the top of this post is a design I made to celebrate the beautiful chaos that tops so many of our heads. Would you PLEASE SHARE THIS POST with other curly-gurls or dread-heads you think could appreciate the heart and spirit of this self-acceptance campaign?
- Owners of natural hair salons might enjoy the clock or pillows for their work-space.
- Yoginis might enjoy a cute tee or tote bag for their yoga or meditation class.
- Naturalistas might enjoy the spiral notebook to document their 'hair journey'.
- Students might enjoy stickers, a studio pouch for pens and markers, or a drawstring bag.
- And anyone could gift a wild-haired woman with a greeting card, phone case, or ceramic or travel mug.
Thanks for your support, truly.