In case you are just coming to the party, in January, I came “out” with my hair sans extensions. I caused a quite a stir, especially in the natural hair world and I was pleasantly surprised.
Ok, ok, I know I keep talking about my hair. I’ll even admit it, I’m obsessed!
Folks keep saying “It’s just hair,” but my choice to go natural has been affecting all aspects of my life.
Trust me, if you had the SAME hair for over 20 years and you made a radical change, you would feel it too. Add to that the whole public aspect of being “Kim Coles” and the fact that the hair revamp actually mirrors other changes in my lifestyle–physical, spiritual and emotional. Perhaps you could empathize feeling slightly uncomfortable with all this new and different stuff! Oh yeah, I just experienced a breakup of a romantic live-in relationship, too. UUUGGGHH!
So after a few sleepless nights, I realized that what I really had for 20+ years was a guaranteed look that I could count on. Even on bad hair days with my extensions, I could still make it work. I could spritz it, curl it, or ponytail it. I had CONTROL.
I also realized that a lot has NOT changed in my life because of my need for control….ummm, well at least the false sense of it. I like certain things to be stable and predictable. Although I can spontaneous sometimes, for the most part, I like things to be a certain way and I like LIFE to be that way. But is it always? No, I don’t think so.
As happy as I am that I made this change, I’ll be honest and say some days I find it very difficult to look in the mirror and feel good. I don’t know what I am doing, yet. Just combing my hair feels brand new. I think that the last time I saw my hair in this state, with no relaxer or braids, was when I was 13 or so. Chile, I am 49! I have to learn a whole new world and a new way of doing things and I have given up the need to CONTROL. I am amazed at how the same lessons that I’m learning about my hair relate to life too. The metaphors are here for the taking!
1.Give up control–What can we really control, anyway?
HAIR: Sure I can use globs of gel but if my hair wants to misbehave, I just throw on a hat, go on and enjoy the day.
LIFE: When things don’t go YOUR way, accept what you can and get creative to find another way to deal with the situation.
2. Be gentle.
HAIR: If you are rough with your hair, it will break and tear. Treat you hair like a fine piece of silk. Note to self: Go and buy a fine piece of silk.
LIFE: Same thing, go easy on yourself, use compassion and self-love. You are a one-of-a kind masterpiece!
2. Be patient, growth takes time.
HAIR: If you just wait and take great care of your hair, it will grow up to 1/2 inch each month.
LIFE: If you nurture yourself and work at it, you too will grow and flourish immeasurably.
3. Seek your community.
HAIR: Ask for help. Find folks who will embrace you and give you advice on your journey. Check out You Tube. I did.
LIFE: Find a community of like-minded individuals or choose a mentor who has been there and done that and listen.
4. Sometimes you get haters and naysayers.
HAIR: Ignore them, or tell them to back up off your scalp!
LIFE: Ignore them or do like I do and stay up late at night debating mean twitter followers and nasty bloggers. Trust me, a colossal WASTE of time and energy!!!
5.When in doubt, lubricate.
HAIR: Keep your scalp clean and your hair well moisturized.
LIFE: Hey, do what you can in all areas to keep things s m o o t h! : )
HAIR: Your hair is your crowning glory and a part of you. No matter what it looks like, show the world what you are working with!
LIFE: Sometimes I know what I’m doing and sometimes I don’t. I only have control over how I choose to respond to things. I can choose happiness and joy everyday. I invite you to do the same.
If you have any hair or life tips to share, post them here. I am ready and willing to learn!
Love and Laughter,
Have you accepted the CHALLENGE?! If not, what are you waiting for?!
I know what you mean Kim, I was 50 last year when I decided to go natural and I've never looked back and since I have some length now, it's all good! I think the bad days are what you make it. I've learned to accept and work with my hair at each of its lengths (currently when I stretch out the back it touches the top of my shoulders) and since it's curly some of those style I see on others don't work for me so I wear it in a curly fro, pull it back in headband, wear a side part with various flower pins or crystal pins and I'm satisfied. I get tons of compliments and I'm awaiting getting back my length and I will be again with a bob but this time, a curly bob.
Inspiring! As a 40 year old woman with three kids, a crazy life, I have managed to control…not much in my life including my hair! I am going natural and am in transition. So glad to see I am in good company. I will be online following and asking for major support. I look forward to your growth as well!
Peace and Love!
Thanks for sharing, Kim. I can dig! I just did my big chop February 4, 2011
Kim, good luck on your grow it out challenge!Your hair does rock btw. Congrats on going natural.
I loved this post! It's one of my favorites. I got a few for you. The best styles I've done were done fairly quickly (5-10 minutes tops) and I get the most compliments. I could slave over my hair and it ends up being too darn "perfect." Same thing with life decisions – use your heart, gut, intuition whatever you want to call it to make timely decisions instead of aiming for perfection. The best products aren't always the most expensive. My hair loves olive oil and I resisted trying it because I was nervous about walking around smelling like salad dressing. Not the case at all as the smell doesn't linger. That's another one – being open to trying new things and if they don't work ditch but you might be pleasantly surprised. I've been natural since the mid-90's and it's only in the last few years that I have my routine down(with help from you hair gurus on forums such as these and You Tube). Read product labels, try out the products and take notes. You'll see a trend with what you hair loves and doesn't love – mine loves oils,hates protein. Once you find your "holy grails" stick with them and stop keep wanting to try the next best thing (okay maybe occasionally – the product junkie never fully dies). Lastly, like in life, have fun! It's just hair. Thanks again, Kim for sharing your hair journey with us.
Beautiful post! Kim you have felt, said and thought everything most of us have been through as well. Heck I've been 100% natural for 3 years and I'm STILL trying to figure this out LOL Your hair WILL thrive and before you know it you'll be more confident about taking care of your hair. Its funny how you were my inspiration when I was in my 20s and I got braids because of you LOL now I'm being inspired again, but for the natural side. Thanks for representing us 40 somethings.
March will make a year ago that i also cut my hair and ended my long-term live-in relationship. Neither my hair or my relationship were healthy or working for me. The journey has been one of the best decisions of my life, and at 46, i have released control and learned to accept, deal with and handle what comes.
I just want to say I can feel your emotion through your words. When I have those days that I don't feel like looking at myself, I stop stare at myself and name out loud all the things I like about myself, tell myself to stop the pity party and stop tripping everything is more than okay. I've learned part of being natural as far as your hair goes is learning to recognize the woman you really are..for the first time in most cases.
When you look at yourself in the mirror and see ALL of yourself for the first time in years it gives you a new perspective on you've been to some extent. Then, when you realize who you've been isn't who you really are you go through shock LOL! I've learned that my want of control is because of fear. So I've learned to ask myself seriously what is the worst thing that could happen? Most of the time I find that it's all in my head and that's something that I can control. Finding your way to yourself and who God has said you are is the journey and seeing your hair in all it's natural glory is the joy. Thank you for these words of wisdom. Kudos for bearing your soul in front of the world that takes a LOT of strength and courage and congratulations in advance for the best things coming your way!
Great post, Kim!
I would like to add (similar sentiments as Sandra)…
Unlike when I had a relaxer, my natural hair is not bound to a routine. It's not do this and that on this day and that day. I literally have to listen to my hair and give it what it's asking for at the moment. And right now, my hair is definintely not on a schedule!
I am sure it is hard being a celebrity and making public changes. I just want to send you some love because my skin is not thick enough to deal with the constant negative opinions and mockery. Thank you for sharing your journey and hopefully my words will give you the strength to make it another day on your journey. Happy Growing!
Loved this. I found that when my hair is doing its own thing it usually is begging me for food:
Hair loves water, sometimes it loves butter(shea that is) sometimes it loves oil(natural, particularly olive.
Listen closely, cuddle up with it. Hair talks to you. It whispers great things in your ear.
Forget control. It's about an exchange of communication. Just give it the attention it demands and the love will take care of itself. For real.
I love Kim! Her hair rocks, her attitude rocks!
It's very encouraging just to see you bare your insecurities and frustration the way that you did but even through all of that you still took GREAT lessons from it all!! Thanks so much for sharing this with us and please keep the faith knowing that there's a purpose to EVERYthing!
During my transition I have learned that products that work for one sister's glorious mane, may not necessarily work for me. I am learning how to listen to my hair and to figure out what works for my hair.