As a little girl, I had stick-straight, yet super-thick, very light blonde hair. It was so light, in fact, that my grandpa called me “little cotton top”.
Once I hit age 12, however, hormones were raging, acne was popping up all over my skin, I’d just gotten a set of braces to correct my slight overbite and gap between my two front teeth…and my hair started developing a wavy/curly texture to it that I did NOT know how to deal with – nor did our hair stylist at the time.
Thus began what I call my “hairvolution”. You could not PAY me enough to go back to this time in my childhood. It was awful. Not only was I totally self-conscious about ALL OF THE ABOVE…but to make matters worse…kids will be kids…and I was an easy target to make fun of in youth group. (Of all places…)
That’s right. I would show up to Sunday school or youth group and it was “Hey poofy-hair.” “What’s happened to your hair?” “Look at her poof.” (This experience also unfortunately contributed to what led me to eventually fall out of church for several years and be wary of other Christians.) Thankfully I have amazing parents who were (and still are) incredibly supportive and loving.
You can see the dramatic evolution of my hair over a 10-year period here:
For the longest time I hated my hair. You couldn’t really buy flat irons anywhere at this time (that I knew of anyway), so I would attempt to straighten my hair with a curling iron and whatever straightening products I could find at the local drugstore. I knew the damage this was causing, but I didn’t care. I wanted back the stick straight locks of my childhood.
During this time, our household got good old dial-up Internet. (Remember those days?!) In my searching of hair tips and tricks (probably on Dogpile – hah!), I stumbled across a site that was life-changing…naturallycurly.com. I’d discovered a whole new world! These women were embracing their curls and sharing products, tips and stylists who specialized in curly hair! I was able to use some of the products and tips, but unfortunately, the stylists were nowhere near my rural hometown…at least I was onto something new. I’d found a community that would not only accept me and my wacky wavy/curly hair…but that would help me LOVE my hair!
Fast forward to today – another 10ish (or so) years after that high school photo was taken. I’ve embraced my curls…found a style that totally fits my personality (thanks to my awesome curly stylist – Tammura!) and I now get oodles of compliments on my hair. (Totally makes up for pre-teen years of jokes and jeers.)
I actually LOVE my hair today and can’t imagine straightening it – not to mention, that is way too time-consuming. Letting my locks do their natural thing, versus fighting them, has been liberating.
And those kids from my youth…I’ve forgiven them. They probably don’t even remember what they said. As an adult looking back, you realize that’s all a part of growing up. And I’d much rather be a kid back then versus today… the ridiculing and jokes are even more magnified with social media. Ugh.
When we go through painful situations, it’s important to glean the lessons learned along the way…so I’ll share a few of them here:
- Never underestimate the power of your words and actions. People may not remember exactly what you said…but they won’t forget how you made them feel.
- We’re all broken and imperfect, so expect to be hurt by those you close to you…but then acknowledge their humanness, forgive and love them for who they are. This is one of the things our pastor always says to new partners at our church (Journey Franklin). “Expect that one of us will let you down at some point. When we do, hold us accountable – let us know so we can make it right.”
- LOVE your uniqueness!! The world would be so boring if we all looked the same, acted the same, spoke the same, enjoyed the same things, etc. Don’t neglect or downplay your gifts. They were given to you for a reason. 🙂 Let those gifts shine, my friends.
What life lesson can you share with us? Have you gone through something that was initially painful, but led to an important lesson? I’d love to hear about it!
PS: Do you have a passion for health or beauty? Do you enjoy helping others? Would using that passion to add an extra $500 or more to your monthly income make a positive impact on your household?