A couple of summers ago, I swam almost daily.  My cute, pixie haircut was relaxed and meticulously maintained. Between salon visits, caring for my hair was a breeze and I had everything imaginable to make sure it was. If my hair got a little fluffy I’d tie on a silk scarf and my hair would be fine the next day. One day after a swim, I noticed the roots of my hair were a little wavy. I hadn’t paid attention to that in the past and thought maybe it was because of the conditioner I’d used.  It wasn’t.  After that summer I began stretching out the time between relaxers further and further. I liked my hair’s kinks and curls. Every time I looked in the mirror I thought, ‘I love this!

My story is not unlike that of a lot of black women. It was the summer before the ninth grade when I got my first relaxer and aside from a few brief periods when I stopped for a short time, I remained a faithful member of Team Relaxer. Before that, I was a little girl who got her hair pressed before Easter, school pictures and special occasions.

Now, I found myself wondering what my natural hair really looked and felt like. I couldn’t remember and really wanted to know. This wondering continued until I made the decision to stop relaxing my hair. I opted to transition from relaxed to natural over time instead of cutting-off the relaxed hair all at once. I knew I’d need time to adjust to the change. What I didn’t know was how many other fabulous changes would occur along the way.

Change comes in many forms and often makes us uncomfortable. We are creatures of habit and change for some of us, causes major stress. No matter how progressive or adventurous we might be, we are human. Change somehow manages to tap into our fears and insecurities the way little else can. We fear the unknown, failure, loss or ridicule, to name a few. This change, however, evoked something wonderful and positive: Excitement!

I was fortunate enough to have a few curl-friends who were already rocking their own natural crowns to help me through this process. Their advice was more valuable than anything I could’ve read in a book.  These natural-haired guides patiently walked me through this transition and the twenty billion questions I had about it.  It is a privilege to be led through change. Because you trust whoever is leading you, it’s less daunting. They are experienced in what you’re doing or have been where you’re going. They help you avoid pitfalls and share with you well-traveled paths and tips. Though the change was mine to experience, the process of getting me through it was communal.

Along the way, I discovered and rediscovered things that opened the door to a series of new thoughts, new people, new projects, and new goals. A portal of wonderful possibilities had been opened by a single decision.

Change is good and though it doesn’t always seem like it, it is a portal to new and positive things.  Whether good or bad, change can be a vehicle for growth, new beginnings, progress and improved self-confidence.  The change that comes as a result of being forced out of our comfort zones can lead us to self-discovery.  There’s something about being tossed into the deep end of the pool that shows us we really can swim. Often because of change, we learn that some of our previous beliefs have limited and kept us from all manner of fantastic possibility. When we conquer something…anything that we thought was impossible, our self-confidence soars. What a bonus!

Change is inevitable. It is a regular part of our lives that we don’t often notice until we are forced.  We experience it each day in some way. We age daily, not just when the calendar rolls around to the next birthday. It takes the earth approximately 365.3 days to make its trip around the sun, during which time we experience winter, spring, summer, fall and all twelve months of the year. We see flowers bloom and leaves fall. Babies make their entry into the world and loved ones take their leave from it.  Take a look at your kindergarten, high school, and most recent pictures. Notice any changes?

When facing your next challenge of change, consider the upside! Accept it as necessary for growth. Allow it to propel you to your next best experience. Receive it with excitement, anticipating the positive result.  Know that you’re always in good company. Though our circumstances are personal, this process too is communal. Like the gurus who led me through my transition, God and the universe is leading you through your waves of change with signs and clues along the way.

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The PlaygroundWaves Of Change