I spend a lot of money on myself. Hair, nails, make-up but especially hair…I get bored and I want the freedom to change my hair to match my mood. However I’ve noticed this is a trend for me. The trend to flee. To search. To run. To go. I call it chasing freedom but I’m always in pursuit and only when I stand still do we find one another. So I decided to stand still for a while. Stand still in myself. Look around my expansive self and honor all parts of me.
Sit in sobriety and look at myself, my life, and my mirrors–people I’ve collected to remind me of all my pieces. I’ve wanted so badly to be validated. To be told I am good. To be told I am beautiful. Sexy. To be told I am smart or wise or audacious. I wanted other people to assure me of the questions I had of myself. As if somehow they knew better than I did. I trusted the pruning of me to be done by those undeserving. I let them clip away the parts of me they didn’t like and I told myself if only there were more to me and less of me that I would finally be okay. I could have the things I secretly craved. I would be worthy because I will have proven myself. I ran from person to person relationship to relationship in search of myself, my whole self not understanding that the entirety of me would never exist beyond my own fingertips. I was never going to find a man present enough to make me feel I was worth sticking around for. And every time someone left me, I had to stop playing the old familiar story that my deficiency was the reason for their departure.
In a weird twist of fate, last semester I was asked to facilitate a retreat for Women’s Empowerment. I never know what to do or say when it comes to “women’s issues” because while I care, the word woman never meant much to me. It represented all the things I wasn’t. Soft, gentle, dainty, agreeable, and white. Woman without Black preceding it felt feeble and insufficient to describe my experience as this being. I accepted the offer because it was both an enigma and very much right at the same time. I feel prettiest just out of the shower, no make up and hair tied. Yet, I spend so much time “becoming” something all together entirely different. A woman should get to decide. In considering what it means to me to be a woman I could carve it out of wood or stone or marble. But not clay. There was nothing malleable about my womanness. There was no room for push. For give. For influence. For compromise. It, my limited understanding of my own lived feminine experience, was stifling. And I was suffocating under the weight of judgments I had for myself and women like me. I had to reconcile who I am with who I longed to be. I had to stop trying to make the pictures match and simply reconcile that who I long to be is exactly who I am. And that person is not changed by her appearance. She is, I am, my essence. Unchanged and unchangeable. I exist outside the confines of appearance. It’s not to say forget it…but damn it I refuse to let it govern my life.
I found myself saying today that I am ready to own those parts of myself. I am ready for a partner who can hold me and I am ready to let him. This time I am not searching for balance or harmony. I have that on my own. I can see it smell it. I know my way around the facility of me. I am not searching anymore. Not for the hair that feels like me. I have that. Not for the perfect outfit or make up or polish color. Not for perfection. Not for pretty. I am going to stand still, instead. I am going to forget the perfect lighting and rely on the sun. I am going to forget the mirrors and trust myself.