Walking Through The Valley

In a month, I will be celebrating 1 year of blogging and one of my first posts was about my hair journey. Although I did not lie, I was not entirely honest concerning my experience or where I am currently. As I stated in “Hair: What’s the Big Deal Anyway”, I grew up wearing the typical hairstyles Black girls wore. I’ve also had braids and worn wigs and weaves. I’ve worn my hair in a natural afro and permed it. I’ve texturized it and straightened it. I’ve done everything you could possible think of doing. During my sophomore year of high school, I cut my hair into the hairstyle pictured below, except the top was curled and I was basically bald on the sides and back. My mother was not a fan and ended up cutting the rest of my hair off. That was a traumatic day for me.

In the past, I had been mistaken for a guy on multiple occasions. I had experiences with bullying, both cyber and in person, where I was told that I looked like a guy and that was why I was ugly. This was happening while I had hair; I couldn’t fathom what would happen if I didn’t. I remember being afraid for school to start back up because we were on winter break. I called the only friend I had at that moment crying and he helped calm me down, managing to convince me that everything would be okay. I walked into school and braced myself for what I expected to be the worst day of my life. It wasn’t. The reception was amazing and I remember thinking, if this is what it took to be called pretty I would have been bald a long time ago. Eventually, I grew my hair out for a year before cutting it again. Over the years, my haircuts became shorter. I had finally arrived, falsely, at self-love. You see love is unconditional but mine had strings attached. It was always, I was beautiful IF… I was beautiful WHEN…

Currently, God and I are revisiting self-love. This season started 2 months ago and has been tough. Earlier this year, I was telling my 13 year old sister that her beauty has nothing to do with her hair. I told her that, until she believes the fact that she is beautiful regardless of hairstyle, outfits, skin tone, etc. nothing will ever be enough. As I was saying this, the Holy Spirit asked me, “what about you?”, but I brushed it aside. A couple weeks later, God reveled to me that I had (speaking prophetically) a fear of hair. I had subscribed to the narrative of the enemy, that my beauty is only present when my hair isn’t. He told me to grow my hair out. I remember being petrified, because even though I knew God was right, I didn’t want to go through learning to love myself again. I thought I was finally in a good place and I just wanted to stay there a little longer; however, I knew that I would be hurting myself if I didn’t listen to Him.

I cut the remaining dye off my hair and I have not touched it in 2 months. At first, I was doing well, because my hair was still pretty short at the time. Then on May 7th, I woke up, showered, washed my hair, looked in the mirror, and I saw it. In that instant, I saw every lie of the enemy. That I was ugly, that I looked less feminine, and that I wasn’t presentable anymore. It hurt; however, I was in a hurry so I couldn’t address my feelings. I went about my day, but so many little things were not going the way I planned and towards the end of the day, when I got into my car, I broke down. I started talking to God and tried acting like I didn’t know the root of my pain and frustration, but the beauty of the Holy Spirit is that He reveals the truth. He showed me that the issue wasn’t all the mishaps, but that I felt ugly. I voiced my pain, releasing it and He comforted me. I would love to say that’s where it ends, but I no longer operate in deceit.

I’ve had more bad days than good ones. When I don’t have makeup on or I don’t gel my hair and edges down, I genuinely can’t look at myself and see beauty which is most days because natural is my look of choice, unless for special occasions. When I don’t feel like I look good, I tend to overcompensate with clothes. I become less social because I am trying to hide. I don’t want to be seen. I share this because God told me to and because I believe there is a lot of God’s goodness to be encountered while in the valley, not solely on the hills. This season isn’t over yet, but I am doing better. I still struggle with calling myself beautiful, but I’m at a place where my actions aren’t in alignment with lies. I don’t overcompensate with my outfits anymore. I let my personality shine and I don’t hide as much. I am getting to know God more as my encourager, my comforter, and my father. I am working towards no matter how I feel, I can live by what I know. And what I know is, since I am the daughter of a beautiful Father, I am 100% beautiful. Point. Blank. PERIODT. POOH (lol I’m corny).

For everyone who feels led to compliment me after reading this, I thank you in advance. If the Holy Spirit sends you to encourage me, please do because His timing is spot on, but do not feel obligated to give me a compliment based on this post. I’m still slightly swayed by other people’s opinions of me and I don’t want to leave this season deceived into thinking the way I see myself is mine or God’s when it’s really the accumulation of the way others see me. I love you all and I pray you are always encouraged and blessed through the Lord using me.

Lastly, I would like to thank a sister-friend of mine named Jackie. If you’re reading this, the hair products you recommended for me have really helped in making my hair soft which has made this journey a little smoother. Ps. Check out her makeup page @_thebeautyguru!

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