Au Naturale?

I used to wonder what the hype of this natural movement was all about and its starting to become very clear to me that its about way more than letting go of your perm to get kinky, curly hair. Now that I think about it, this journey of self discovery all started with my hair. There was something freeing about growing my hair out and having my appearance in the mirror actually reflect my true self, no more hiding.

I've hidden behind a facade for as long as I can even remember, actually. I used to find a lot of comfort in being like everybody else, but I guess it was easier to want to fit in, because every time I tried to stand out it was uncomfortable. People around me were always dismissing my interests instead of realizing that these are the things that made me who I was.

I'd hear things like you're such a geek, why you always reading, or why you aways listening to this depressing music, why you drive like this, why won't you put some lip gloss on, fluff your hair out like this. It got to the point where I started thinking I really was weird and I traded many of my interests for things that just barely made me happy. I'd turn the station to some music that I knew the person riding with me would like, wear something uncomfortable just to look cute and became obsessed with the idea of everything in my life needing to be perfect.

I remember in third grade, my elementary school put me in the Gifted and Talented Program (GT), it was for the kids who did really well in reading or something, who knows. I just knew it was special. At first I was so happy, because we got to leave our normal class for a little while during the school day to work on different activities. But then I started to hate going, because it was frustrating.

They'd give us packets of different riddles and activities to do to cultivate logical thinking and I could never understand them. The other kids would be completing them so quickly, and I'd just be sitting there looking around, getting anxious, and then I'd just give up.  I eventually stopped going, but I know now that what they were trying to do was open our minds and get us to think from different perspectives.

Pretty much up until high school my friends always defined me as someone who was smart. I mean I knew that I was, but it was annoying for me back then because even though I knew I was book smart, I was also creative, thoughtful, imaginative, intuitive, but I also liked to party and go out and have fun. Its like I didn't know how to balance it all in a way that was accepted by everyone else. It seemed like in everyone else's mind there was no way I could be smart and then some. I should've stayed in GT, because that mindset wasn't logical thinking at all.

When everything started to hit the fan, I kept remembering being at my grandparent' s house in Cranford, taking walks to the waterfall and loving being outside in the backyard in the woods under the trees. The trees had the biggest leaves I'd ever seen, and they used to turn this beautiful yellow color in the fall. I remember my grandmother had these binoculars under the bed that I would use to birdwatch out the window into the woods. I used to love being at the park, taking walks and sitting by myself and listening to nature. It was the last time I had ever felt free.

Its crazy thinking about how I managed to give up all of those beautiful things that helped me feel connected to something greater, for a facade that never even brought me complete happiness, out of mere fear of being uncomfortable. It became way too much keeping up with my perm, my weave, my nails, my this, my that. My most awkward years in life were the ones where I wanted to be like everyone else. But then its like, you trade everything you are for what? To be like everybody else? It's not even worth it.

Facades are ridiculous, all they cause is pain. I'm guilty of trying to maintain this double life for years. Stuck in the middle of the idea of who I should be and who I know deep down that I've always been. So what if I like to be alone with my thoughts, sit by the river, crochet a blanket, listen to Alina Baraz, or go out for tea instead of happy hour. Happiness is circumstantial, I'm sorry your facade is preventing you from experiencing the things that truly bring you joy.

23 was a weird, weird year for me. I kept getting a strange feeling that everything was about to change, and it did. I've let go of every thing that used to define me, and taken back the definition I'd made for myself a long time ago. My grandmother asked me how it feels to be 24, and at first I was thinking that it doesn'tThen when I actually thought about it, this is the first time I've actually felt free again. It all started with my hair, which when I just let it be, it finally began to flourish.

Well, In honor of 24

I'm letting go of it all. I want to focus on speaking my own personal truths. Self acceptance and learning to embrace the things that you see as flaws is a natural  journey. But, in honor of 24 I've stopped obsessing over the questions of why am I like this? Why don't I like this? Why can't I be like this? When the answer has simply been because all long. And that's okay.

In honor of 24 I wanted to tell my readers that I'm thankful for my blog and for everyones support. I'm proud to say that I've reached 100 followers! Loyal followers too, who offer different perspectives and point of views. I love the engagement and the stories of others who want to share, its amazing and truly inspiring.

In honor of 24, I'm focusing on making this my best year, because the best present overall are the lessons I've learned and the gratification of knowing that everything is finally beginning to make sense and fall into place. It was the first birthday since being a child that I had natural hair, I never would have thought that this would also be the year when everything changed. The year that I changed, and I'm forever grateful. 💋