In 2009 I lost my hair.
Due to a beautiful combination of stress and medical issues, my hair (what the old folks called my crowning glory) began to fall out of my head.
I tried to hang on to it. I cut it short and even shaved half in the back. Then one night, I looked at myself in the mirror and realized how ridiculous it was to hold on to hair – and I cut it off.
From that point on, my hair has grown in its puffy, natural state. I have grown to love my hair but others have never fully been on this journey with me. I have had people ask, “Why don’t you just wear a wig?” Or, “Was your husband okay with you cutting all your hair off and wearing it like that?”
People can be kind of rude.
Case in point, recently I decided to get my hair pressed. Quick back-story: My long time stylist died last year and I haven’t had a good trim since then (man oh man the split ends!!!). So I found a nice stylist who straightened my hair and my world imploded.
Comments at work and from family included:
*You need to keep your hair like that.
*I’m glad you finally combed your hair.
I’m not really good with compliments in general – I’m really not an attention type person (if that makes sense). Also, I’m terrible with the compliments that served to build me up then beat me down – you know the double-edged compliment. This really had me in a bad place. The reaction was like “my gosh, it pained us to have to look at you but now – who knew you could actually look good!”
Image can shatter our self-worth and wrongly overshadows (in my opinion) a person’s work. This past week, I have busted my butt on several projects, saving the day like a superhero but instead of kudos for the excellent work, I received continuous “compliments” about this shocking hair transformation.
People get a grip!
My prime comment for people this week was that I love my natural hair, in all its states. Please do not subject me and other natural women to your bias. I actually love myself and I hope you love yourself too. This is the message I hammered in to my kids this week as they straightened their hair. I told them to expect overreacting from jerks but to take it in stride because when it really matters, their mom and dad tell them they are beautiful everyday.
How does your main character (or your secondary character’s image) shape their outlook on life. Does society view them in a certain way? How do you shape this in the narrative?