From Disaster to Discovery
Press and combed spiral curls. Socks with the lace trim and patent leather Mary Janes. Cute little a-line dresses in your signature pastel color.
I was a typical PK (that’s Preacher’s Kid in case you didn’t know!). And on any given Sunday, you could find me dressed to the nines.
Saturday night is when it all went down. We’d break out the relaxers, portable hair dryers, and hair grease and get ourselves ready for church in the morning.
What started out as a chore quickly became one of the highlights of my week. My mother, sister, and I grew to cherish this time and, in the process, I was slowly developing a love for doing hair.
By the time I got to high school, I was ready to turn my little hobby into a business. Need to get right for prom, the homecoming dance, or senior pictures? I had it covered, and I it was a pretty lucrative side hustle for me.
But here’s the thing: I knew how to do hair, but I knew very little about hair CARE. There IS a difference.
The summer before I left for college and my senior trip to Jamaica, my mom had just given me a fresh perm. As I got ready to walk into this new phase of life, I decided it was time for a change, and a new hair color was in order.
What I didn’t know was that chemically processing my hair with a relaxer and color so close together was a double whammy and a big NO-NO, and I was about to find out how bad it really was.
My shoulder length hair began falling out in chunks, and I was forced to cut my hair short.
While young ladies nowadays have the luxury of seeing celebrities and gorgeous Black women from the boardroom to the White House rocking hair of 100 different varieties - natural and all - back then not so much. Long, flowy hair was IT, and it was how we ( and I) defined beauty.
Because my dark skin was also different and such a source of insecurity, my long hair became my security blanket. It was a universally accepted symbol of beauty, and it made me feel pretty. Once it was gone, sadly I realized how much of my identity had been tied up in my relaxed hair.
But, like any butterfly, I needed this time in my cocoon to emerge anew and learn to love all of the unique, authentic parts of myself - hair included.
And just a few short years later when I was ready to take flight, what happened was a remarkable transformation that helped me redefine my own beauty and brought me clarity, boldness, and a newfound passion for helping other women learn the true meaning of self-love…
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