My “Happy New Year” Story

Most people typically celebrate the new year in January, but me on the other hand, celebrate on my born day. Granted, it’s still in a new year, but I was born on March 12, 1979 at 5am and that is when life begin for me as I know it, so when better to celebrate newness?!?!

So no, I didn’t make a new year’s resolution, but I did, however decide that I will continue to strive towards greatness and to live life to its fullest starting with my hair.

To start out my new year, I did it with a bang. Not the unusual, but something that I love to do and what liberates me. Guessed it yet?!!? I did the Big Chop [for the 3rd and last time] and ahhh…it felt so good. Some may not understand why I do it and many may not support it, but here is a brief explanation…

For many years during my youth, I was told by strangers that I was a pretty girl, but I never believed it because I was teased so badly growing up. From my skinny long legs, to my deep chocolate complexion and my over bite that took over my small framed face, I was convinced that all these things made me ugly. Being teased from kids in school is one thing, but then to have it come from your family, the people you love and trust is another. Because I trusted them, I trusted what they said about me and I didn’t believe I was beautiful nor was I comfortable in my own skin. So I hid from everyone with silence. Because my mother wasn’t good at doing hair, especially my very kinky course hair, my mother did what everyone was doing in the late 80’s; she put a Jerry Curl in my hair. It wasn’t so bad until I went to visit relatives over the summer who didn’t know how to treat it and let me swim everyday in a chlorine filled pool, and not washing my hair or moisturizing it afterwards. By the end of summer, my hair was nothing short of a disaster. I had patches everywhere and it was completely broken off. That was when I experienced my first BC. This did not help with the teasing as I was only in elementary school at the time. My mother was told, the only way to restore my hair was for me to get another jerry curl. Bad move. In middle school, the teasing got even worse. No one was wearing curls anymore at this time, and to add insult to injury, I was now wearing braces too, so you could imagine what I went through. By this time, my self-esteem was non-existent. Completely shot. My silence grew to the point people thought I was a mute. Even “friends” in high school nicknamed me “Tinker Bell” because when I did speak, it was extremely low. All I ever knew from being in elementary school on up to college was being an ugly duckling. I tried at every cost to make myself invincible.

At the age of 22, I had met someone who would one day be my fiancé. I moved away from my home and started a new life. We planned for a marriage, but in the meantime, I became pregnant. In my first trimester at 3 months pregnant, I was feeling miserable, sick and depressed about living in a foreign place (Northern VA opposed to FL) where I had relocated to to be with my current boyfriend. One day, as I was walking through the mall with my head down, a young homosexual guy and a girl where walking past me, and with such conviction and genuine context he said, “she is GORGEOUS!” I lifted my head and looked around to see who he was talking about and to my surprise, they were both looking at me with a warm and honest smile. It may seem simple, but to have a total stranger make such a statement took me by surprise.

I went home, looked in the mirror and cried because I still couldn’t see what they saw. To fast forward, a couple of years went by. I had my daughter, who was now at the age of 4 and her father and I had called it quits. I was still battling with self-esteem issues. I picked up an Essence magazine from the grocery store and read an article about the comedian and Grammy winning actress Monique, who talked about the hard times and the abuse she experienced through her life. She said one statement that stood out to me and I have kept it with me ever since…”I deserve to love me!” She wrote it on her mirror in her bathroom and said it every morning until she begin to believe it in her heart and her soul. I decided to do the same thing, but I did it a little differently. I wanted to go back to that little girl that was told she was not beautiful. I needed healing and I needed it to start from the time I could remember being called ugly or kind of cute for a dark skinned girl. So without hesitation, I shaved my hair off. I wanted to see what I looked like completely naked. I wanted to love and accept me for all of me. That turned my life around and I begin to love myself and more than I ever thought possible. Healing took place and I am in love with me. At the age of 32, not only am I living and loving life, I have a wonderful man in my life who supports my natural hair and I am currently in school finishing my degree of Psychology. I broke my silence and came out of hiding…literally. I am the Co-Founder and Vice President of an upcoming non-profit organization by the name of E.S.T Unity out of Washington, DC that empowers women of color on self-image, financial stability, relationships, physical and mental health and everything and anything a woman of color goes through on a day to day basis. We are a new organization still building but we are growing strong with over 100 members in just a year. All of this, and to add on, I have a beautiful 8 year old daughter and I vowed to tell her how beautiful she is every day inside and out with her beautiful natural tresses as well. Once I found the love I needed within, I’ve had fun with my hair. I’ve rocked a ‘fro, locs, twist-outs, braid-outs, and yes, permed it again [unfortunately] and wore it straight and long, blunt bangs, and finally, a sow in weave during my transition. Yes, I did it all, but I’ve never felt more special than I do when I wear it natural, so the BC has happened yet again and this time, natural is where home is.

So with that…Happy New Year to me! Loving myself…everything about me and striving for excellence. xoxoxo!!

my daughter