Saturday, May 05, 2007
On Being Who You Really Are
Today my bud Lisa Samson challenged women on her blog to post pictures of ourselves as we really are. I didn't particularly want to do that, but since she called me out specifically, I didn't think I could really opt to punk out.
So here I am, no make up. I even took off my jewelry, heaven help me. And I'm so full of holes I even sleep in jewelry! At first I was going to post a picture of me with my glasses, but I took those off too. I have BIG glasses. I can hide my crows feet behind the glasses. Oy!
Today I got a haircut. A TWA, or teeny weeny afro. My she is afro challenged! I was feeling particularly wild-minded and unlovely. Plus I have daily migraines, and that's hard. I don't want to always fuss with hair. Not even with afros, and I certainly don't want to fuss with longer hair now, or Don King's standing up on top of my hair Afno or cornrows or anything. Some days I need to keep things very simple just because pain says so.
And then there's that thing about new beginnings.
I needed a new beginnings today with my sin weary soul. Not a whacked out version that will leave me ashamed and hiding behind extensions ala Britney Spears. No, I needed a plain ol' new mercy beginning. I needed a meeting my face again in the mirror, and knowing the proper greeting new beginning. I went to the last salon I went to, where I got my hair cut just before I went to ICRS last year. See, I texturized my hair right after my father died because I knew I'd be around my sisters. They are so lovely. It's like being in a room full of Halle Berrys with perms. I almost always fold when I'm around them and it's a funeral. And I folded. Texturized and then missed my natural hair later. I was going to get sistahlocs, a dreadlock technique, and they said they couldn't do it with any chemical process in my hair, so I decided to cut the chemicals out. Today was the day.
I got to the salon and wonderfully sweet, amazing Darryl, the rapper/barber, the guy who cut my hair before, no longer worked there, but another one caught my eye immediately. He could see I had some hesitation. It took me a long time to grow my ginormous afro braid fro or whatever it was today. I really didn't want to cut off all my hair. I felt a little unloved, neglected and unpretty at home. And he could tell. I just know it.
He smiled at me.
I went to him. He's a big teddy bear man. Calls himself "Big Ray." Pretty, shiny black hair. Nice smile. Smooth as obsidian ways. He asked me what I need. Boy was that a loaded question. I could go on and on, but I told Big Ray I wanted him to cut the perm out. I told him about Daddy dying and the beautiful sisters and the perm. I told him about the sistahlocs. He thought I was afraid and told me how short my hair would be if he cut the perm out.
I said, "I'm not afraid to let you take me down."
He said, "I'm not afraid to take you down."
I like Big Ray.
The whole time he cut my hair he told me I am beautiful. He told me I have "God given" beauty. He was shameless in his flirting, but not obscene. He talked often of God. He told me he could not imagine sisters more beautiful. He touched my face delicately. I could not remember the last time my husband touched my face. I felt vulnerable and delicate and special. I let Big Ray be Jesus to me. Telling me I am beautiful. Telling me I am going to be all right. He told me I'm fine in that way black men mean good looking. I let Jesus mean that I am fine in that way that means I will not break in a million pieces. That I will not bleed all over the chair. That He will hold me together. He says it over and over, Jesus in Big Ray saying I am fine.
I am fine.
I am fine.
I am fine.
And for good measure.
I am beautiful.
I take it. I file it away inside of my heart. It makes it possible for me to forgive Ken his debts. It makes it possible for me to ask to be forgiven mine, and to go home and try marriage again.
New haircut. New mercy. New day. New beginning. New grace that comes in the strangest places. Sometimes you take off your hair. Sometimes you take off your make up. You may find what is underneath surprisingly beautiful (fine) despite the wrinkles and the crows feet. You can't be perfect, but you can be what you are with great mercy. With great love and grace. And forgiveness. Forgiveness in spades.