Image

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.
*Wow!

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.

Writing Question:
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?

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