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How One Thing Can Keep You From Everything Else

I have always hated my hair and I let it control my life. I grew up hating it and I went through adolescence hating it. I worried about how my future spouse would react the first time he saw my hair when it was wet and dried naturally. When I was pregnant I prayed that my children would not inherit it. I am talkin’ a tried and true hatred, here. There are times I probably would have traded years of my life if it meant I could have different hair.

When I was in grade school people used to ask me if one of my parents was black (this was back in the days before inter-racial marriage was an accepted practice). I didn’t even know why they were asking but it was because of my nappy, frizzy hair. I became accustomed to people laughing when they would see my hair when it was wet and I let it dry naturally, without fixing or gelling it. I opted out of things like any type of water sport to save myself the embarrassment. I went so far as to think that cancer would be nice because maybe I would go bald. Yeah, pretty irrational thinking. I HATED my hair – hated it.

Then a few years ago I grew up a little bit. I decided that my hair is what it is, that I am stuck with it and that I am tired of it keeping me from doing all the things I want to do. How did my life change? First, I took white water kayaking lessons with my sons, went out on the river and we had a blast. It was more fun than I ever would have imagined. Now my 2 oldest sons are helping me to become a better swimmer. My hair still gets in my way. For example, I can only get in the pool once a week or so. My hair is so dry that the chlorine just kills it and makes it a huge mess of it. I mean huge. But I swim when I can. Sometimes I do kick sets so I don’t have to get my hair wet but I still get a good workout and some time in the water. I work around it and I go on.

power to change

The other thing that changed, and this has been massively liberating, is that I no longer care what people say or think about my hair. I do what I can with it and I don’t let it stop me. My hair and I have a lot of living to do, and I’ve spent too much time and energy wishing it away. Trying to make it something it will never be. I now let it go natural for the most part. I gel it to keep it manageable or pull it back into a tiny ponytail. (It won’t grow so it’s pretty short, but it’s long enough to pull back out of my face.) My hair is what it is – I was born with it and I’ll die with it but mostly, I’ll live with it. I mean really live. Has the transition been difficult? Yep. Do I still slip into the “I hate my hair” mode? Absolutely. But it’s brief and I don’t let it interfere with what I want to do.

How about you? What is the one thing that you hate about you? Is there something that keeps you from living the way you would like? Here are some common “about me” reasons that people use:

  • I’m too fat.
  • I’m too thin.
  • I’m too tired.
  • I’m too old.complaining-1
  • I’m too young.
  • I’m too hot.
  • I’m too cold.
  • I don’t feel like it.
  • I’m a man.
  • I’m a woman.
  • I’m too tired.
  • I don’t feel good.
  • I have to work tomorrow.
  • It’s too hard
  • I don’t have the energy.
  • I don’t have the time.
  • I don’t have the money.
  • And, of course, mine: My hair’s too weird. All the reasons why it’s not my fault, why I’m not responsible and why it’s okay to not do whatever needs doing. Excuses.

But here’s the thing – and it took me over 40 years to learn this – it was never about my hair. It was about me. I didn’t have the courage, I didn’t have the nerve, and I cared too much about what others thought. My hair didn’t care what I did or didn’t do. My hair was never involved in my decisions. I made the choice. I decided to spend time, energy, and money trying to make my hair be something it would never be. I chose to waste time worrying about what someone else might be thinking. Me. I did that, not my hair.

Take some time to look at your own life. What keeps you from having fun, getting fit or starting that new business? Is it your weight, money or lack thereof, your level of fitness, your job? Guess what? It’s none of those things – it’s you. You choose: Poor people have lots of fun, working people find the time to enjoy life and unhealthy people get fit. For every excuse you have somebody, somewhere is making progress despite facing the same difficulty. It doesn’t matter that if you are thin, fat, old, bald, or anything else. If you want to you will, or you will [continue to] let one thing keep you from everything.

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