A Tale of Two Journeys

Just because you will make mistakes doesn’t mean you should quit before even taking a step.

I’m writing this because one day I had an epiphany: my natural hair journey and my spiritual journey are alike.
Me--Pre Natural

I quit the first time I went natural. I went to comb my hair after going without a perm for a month…and suddenly I had to reconsider as I found it EXTREMELY difficult just to part my hair. It was easy when I had that perm…now I was strugglin’!

So I quit.

But as I continued perming my hair I began to notice that my once thick, long head of hair (the hair I had hated all my life) was starting to thin out. I was also having to cut it shorter because I wasn’t taking care of it—though the funny thing is I wasn’t taking care of it because I hated it…

But as much as I hated my hair I didn’t want to lose it.

So I decided when I permed my hair and got my bob for my 21st birthday that it would be the last day I would get a perm.

And it was.

I began growing my hair out and once again it was discouraging when I went comb my hair, challenging even. But I was determined this time to get my hair back to its original thickness and length, so I sucked it up and relearned how to wash, condition and comb my hair. I developed patience while growing it out—I never mastered the hot comb and my mom had more or less retired herself as my stylist—so I’d pull it back in a bun and slap some gel in my hair.

Finally, I had the last of my perm cut off in December of 2010. I was officially all natural—I DID IT!

During christmas break I washed my hair again and come January I had an afro! All that patience, hard work, dedication, education and adjusting to relearning how to do my hair and learning new ways to take care of my hair had PAID OFF.

Well…

The same trials I faced going natural, I also faced spiritually. First time I tried the “Jesus thing” I quit. The enemy has a way of making us feel like we should settle for being where we are because when we try to do better things go wrong. “What’s the point?! I’m better off where I’m at!”

But as I continued going on trying to do things my way, continuing down that same destructive path, I became emptier, lonelier, depressed…when I was broken, hurting and couldn’t take it another second longer I came to God and prayed,

“Lord PLEASE! I’ll do ANYTHING—please take this pain away!” Because as much I didn’t too much care for my life, I didn’t want to lose my life.

He led me to a church where a seed was planted, and later helped me to find the church that I would go on to claim as my family.

I originally went because I wanted to “get my life right” so I went every Sunday. The more I went, the more I began to see I needed to get a Bible and start reading it.

I was 19 when I read the Bible for the first time.

I had to develop patience in my growth, I had to relearn a new way of speaking and walking and carrying myself, and as I began to take on this new role of a sinner saved by grace something began to change.

I didn’t see the progress then, was even tempted to give up a couple of times (just like with my natural hair) but my mind was already made up that one way or another I was going to live for God, because going back to that hell hole I was in before was not an option.

It paid off.

The things that used to fire me off and have me snap on people in a heartbeat don’t set me off like they used to. Do I still have those bad days? Yes, of course. If someone tells you everything is peachy keen—they are LYING, do you hear me? LYING!

But I’m no longer in that dark place that I used to be.

I am saved, my hair is healthier and longer and both journeys were CHALK FULL of haters on every side, “Why you wanna do that?” “I liked the old Jackie better.”

At the end of the day—you gotta do what’s best for you. And what I discovered is that while doing me made me happy, the joy that Christ gives just doesn’t compare. The confidence I developed after going natural I never had when my hair was permed.

So…what am I saying after all that?

I don’t care what it is—if it’s your first time trying it out—it’s SUPPOSED to be difficult, it’s SUPPOSED to be hard, because you’ve never done it before. You’re NOT going to know what to do, how to do it and all the other interrogatives because YOU’VE NEVER DONE IT BEFORE. It’s all a new experience for you.

But…

Just because you will make mistakes doesn’t mean you should quit before even taking a step.

My advice to you: give God a try. He showed me that if my super impatient self could push myself to keep going and continue in my natural hair journey, then I most definitely could push myself to keep going for Him…

Because again…in the end…it ALL pays off.

Me--Now 2 and a half years Natural

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