To Thine Own Self Be True

Or to put it another way, “Showing & Accepting Your True Color(s).”

I have had white hair since I was four years old. No one in my family remembers why the white hair sprouted up, especially right in the middle of my forehead (think of a skunk). Although, if you ask my uncle, he believes I walked through a ghost. You can come to your own conclusions on that one.

Having a strange name in an era filled more with Sarah’s, Kimberly’s, and Jennifer’s than Breezy’s, or anything of the like was hard enough. Add a lock of white hair against a backdrop of thick, dark brown hair and I knew I stood out in a way only an adolescent with a limited view of the world could understand.

The first time I dyed my hair I tried highlights, and quickly moved on to a full dye job. I was in love! The lock of hair that made me unique was now safely hidden under a mix of Revlon M8 & B9.

This became my routine for close to 20 years. My hair has always grown incredibly fast. Pictures of me at three years old with hair below my waist can attest to that. As an adult now dying my hair, I was in the salon chair every three weeks. At this point my hair was an investment. Over time my lock of white hair turned into a salt and pepper mix that migrated throughout the crown of my head.

As someone who would be considered a very low maintenance woman, keeping up the facade of dark hair was getting tiresome. I longed for allowing my natural hair color to shine through. Was I really ready to accept a part of myself that I went to great pains to hide?

Many women will tell you that their identity is closely tied to their hair. For me, it was no different. I was the always the one with the long, thick, dark hair. Touched by complete strangers, complimented on by family, and enjoyed by boyfriends. The mere mention of a haircut was met with responses negative enough to make it appear like I was suggesting a sacrilegious action. If felt as though my worth was tied to my hair.

One of my goals for 2016 was to work on being vulnerable. I’d always prided myself on being sincere and straightforward, however, I often kept my cards close to my vest.  2016 was going to be the year I laid down my cards, one by one.

While at times being vulnerable exposed emotions as raw as an open wound, the entire action of vulnerability was more rewarding than I could have imagined. I felt more connected to my surroundings and to the people in it. By the end of 2016, I was ready to be more connected to myself.

I’m now months into rocking my natural hair color. The first few days I’d catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror and be caught completely off guard.  30+ years of dark hair is difficult to forget, especially when you’re staring at a head of grey and white.

The road to self-acceptance is usually rough and winding. To be willing to lay bare the things we fight so hard to hide is exhausting, but not nearly as exhausting as keeping up the facade. Letting go is like a satisfying exhale: both relaxing and liberating. The process of letting go may not always turn out the way we had hoped; however, I can attest that it is always worth the ride.

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