Wild Hair, Don't Care
Several years ago when I was single and living in Washington, DC, I reconnected with a friend from middle school on social media who had moved away from my hometown many years ago. He was one of the people I can remember being most myself around and our little misfit friend group was comprised of several untamed lovelies who are still some of my favorite wild and wonderful people to this day.
When we reconnected we were both single and excited to find each other after all those years and had a great time texting and catching up on all we had missed.
One day when we were laughing over some dating horror stories, he told me that he had always had a crush on me when we were younger. But what he said next has stuck with me all these years later because of how shocked I was to hear it. He told me what he was attracted to most was my wild, frizzy hair. The same hair I eventually decided to try and straighten into submission with chemicals and flat irons.
I didn’t think he was serious. I thought he might even be making fun of me, but no. He went on and said that ever since having a crush on me all those years ago he was still drawn to the ladies with the wild hair.
I said, “Well, I am glad you liked my hair, but hair alone isn’t much to go on, you know.”
“The hair is just a symbol though. It wasn’t just your hair I was attracted to. It was the fact that you didn’t care what other people thought of you. You were silly, funny, and goofy. You were nerdy. But you were also beautiful. You didn’t try to look like or act like everyone else. You were YOU. Everything about you back then was wild and crazy and you letting your hair be natural and wild and not caring about being perfect was and still is exactly what I look for in someone.”
I didn’t have the heart to tell him that the “natural” wild hair he had beheld was, in fact, the product of me actually trying pretty hard to get it tamed and styled like my friends.
But the reason I couldn’t believe he felt this way was because no one had ever complimented me on the “before” version of myself. At least not anyone outside my family and friends. Not a BOY! Someone who knew me before I decided to change myself to fit in actually liked me- PREFERRED me- just the way I was.
Ain’t that somethin’!
Things never progressed with him and me. It was great to reconnect, but after a few more flirty texts we decided we make better friends than anything else.
But I will never forget that conversation with him because the pre-cheerleader version of myself that still wonders the halls of my subconscious really needed to know that there are people who accept, like, and prefer my authentic,real self.
I felt I had to change the way I looked and acted in order to be beautiful and accepted. And maybe for some people I did, but not all people. Not the right people.
I am trying to tap back into that version of myself all these years later and recapture that untamed vibe I exuded years ago.
I didn’t believe there would be anyone who could see the real me and still love me, but T and I have been married for 11 years now and he has seen me at my most vulnerable and raw many times and he still loves me. In fact, I think the more me I become the more he loves me and the deeper our connection becomes.
I have been rejected before for being who I really am and that hurts, but what hurts even more than that is changing or hiding who we really and truly are in order to please others and be accepted and loved.
We will never feel truly loved until we are more fully ourselves because even if someone loves us, we will know in our hearts that they are loving the version of ourselves we reveal to them and not our full selves.
And as a mother, I am determined to be who I am and love myself well. Not only because that is what I need to do to be mentally and physically well. But because I want to model for my kiddos what it looks like to live authentically; being proud of who we are.
We fear that by fully being who we are, with all our imperfections, quirks, needs, and desires that the people we want to be with will reject us. We are more afraid to lose others than to lose our own selves.
Let’s change that.
Let’s be brave and bold.
Let’s risk losing those who might not love and accept us for who we really are, and trust that if they do reject us, there are more than enough people out in this big world who will love our authentic selves.