I Am Not My Hair

In 2006, India.Arie released a song titled, “I Am Not My Hair.”  The purpose of the song is to remind people that the person is defined by what is inside, not by the external.  Contrary to how many use the song, it isn’t an anthem to run away from pressing, relaxing, or otherwise chemically altering your hair.  It is, however, a song to say, “Be you, be free to be you, in whatever form you choose.”

Oh no, not another natural hair blogger.  NOPE.  Not I.  Remember, Better Part of Me is about my ongoing journey to find the best of who God created me to be.  And today, that topic is hair :-).

I love my hair long.  I’ve cut my hair three times in life. The first time, I was in high school when my hair stylist thought I pointed to a different photo and cut my hair into a short bob (let’s not discuss that in detail, okay?).  The second time, I was in college, and had spent my freshman year looking for a hair stylist.  You’d think that would be easy in Atlanta, but alas, it wasn’t, and hair suffered the consequences. While it appeared that I had a lot of length, the crown of my head was no longer than 2 inches.  Shoulder plus length in the back, and 2 inches in the center.  Really though?  The last time I cut my hair was about 4 years ago.  I wanted to do something different, so I cut it short.  And it was cute, but I really hate having to work to do my hair, so it quickly became annoying.

Earlier this year, I decided to go quasi-natural.  For those that don’t know, “going natural” means you stop using chemical products (like relaxers that make my hair go from tight coily curls to bone straight) and just let your hair grow in its natural state.  I said quasi-natural because I’ve seen my hair texture and I’m not fully ready to embrace it, so I wanted a little something in it to help the curls out some.  I put a weave in my hair briefly (*gasp*, I know a bunch of you who know me are like, whaaaaat???), then, when it was time to take it out, I decided, I want to cut my hair.  All of it.  Off.

My hair stylist didn’t believe me.  I never want to cut my hair. And yet, I was ready to cut it all off. So I did.  And I learned something about myself in the process.

I’ve lived most of my 34+ years of life with long hair.  There’s an attitude, sometimes diva-like, that comes along with that long flowy hair.  There’s a confidence.  At least, I thought it came from the long flowy hair. Then I did a photo shoot this weekend and realized the attitude, the confidence, it came from within.  I forget I don’t have long hair, but I toss my head around and back as if I do.  I feel more empowered, more confident, and more sure of myself than I ever have.  Nope, it’s not the haircut.  The haircut became an outward expression of who I am on the inside.  Defined by who God says I am, and that’s all.  And that makes me happy, confident, and empowered.

Whoever you are, embrace it.  Embrace it wholeheartedly; living your BEST life, being your BEST self, and letting the world see you, in all of your beautiful glory!

Photo taken by Pete Taylor of PTaylor Images (www.ptaylorimages.com) (c) 2012


Remembering . . .

Two days ago, on July 18, 2011, a wonderful woman, Fredricka Sanders Creighton, went home to be with the Lord.  I know this because I know that she had accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior.  She was my paternal grandmother, and I loved her dearly.  I’ve been thinking a lot the past couple days about her; remembering the time we shared with her.  As I reflected on my life with Grandma, I found it ironic that, here I was, remembering, but the last several years robbed her of that same opportunity, due to the effects of the disease that took much of who “Mrs. Freddie Mae” really was:  Alzheimer’s.

This post is not about Alzheimer’s though. I want to tell you about the woman who so effortlessly used to tell anyone who would ask about me and my brother and cousin.  She had a bumper sticker on her car that read, “Let me tell you about my grandchildren.”  And if you asked her, she would tell you.  I distinctly remember hiding behind a pole in the Stamford Town Center (Stamford, CT) parking deck with my older brother and cousin, because some stranger saw the bumper sticker and asked Grandma about her grandchildren.  She proceeded to start talking, and turned at one point to point to us, only to discover we were hiding.  Kids, I tell you.

Grandma Creighton was a vibrant woman. She was full of life, and joy and smiles and hugs.  When we were younger, she would always make clam dip for my Grandpa to go with his Lays Potato Chips (the yellow bag), and we would always beg Grandpa to share.  I don’t know how she made that clam dip, but it was YUM-MY!  Then there was the dream cake.  It was a yellow cake with layers of some sort of creamy white icing (probably with Cool Whip in it), pineapples and coconut.  I can still taste that cake.  My 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Anderson, wrote me a note about that cake at the end of the school year.  It was THAT good.

Grandma was a social butterfly; Mrs. Popularity.  She never met a stranger, and made you feel like she’d known you since her childhood; even if you’d just met her 5 minutes ago.  She was full of life and love.  Never stuffy (though those plastic covers on the gold couches would have you think otherwise), always sassy and always with a hug to give; you know, the kind of hugs that only a Grandma can give.  She loved music, and, even in recent years, would dance to the music.  I guess that’s where I get it from; I always have a song playing in my head.

I’m going to miss my Grandma.  She was a wonderful lady, and brought so much joy and love into our family.  She showed me what love is really about, and taught me so much over the 33.5 years I got to share with her.  I’m truly blessed to have had her so long, and am thankful to know that she is back home, with the Lord, rejoicing, dancing and singing with the constant songs of heaven’s choir.

Thank you, Grandma.  I love you, and I will see you later.