As a little girl growing up in East Texas I loved my neighbor’s hair. Miss Adell had hair that went almost to her waist. I called it water wavy hair. It was hair that harsh chemicals and heat never touched. To get a flip or something special she would put those famed pink rollers in it.
Even as she grayed her hair to me was her crown and glory. After a bout with cancer with chemo treatments, her hair came out. I never saw her during that time, but I did see her when it started to come back, and it came back straight. It was still beautiful and was getting long again, but it was straight. It was then I realized something important.
Her personality had not changed, she was still Miss Adell, still just as beautiful as ever. She was not her hair, she was the neighbor that I loved–hair or no hair, straight or wavy.
I met the beautiful Paulette Leaphart on Facebook. I saw this beautiful bald woman who had this megawatt smile that could light up any room. At the time she was fighting breast cancer. After seeing more beautiful pictures of her with and without hair, wearing alternative hair, caps, hats and all that is in between I knew she was not her hair–she was Paulette. She always knew she was her own beautiful woman–she was a fighter, in fact, she was a champion.
Years ago I met a lady who always wore alternative hair–she suffered from alopecia areata. She would change her look as quickly as she could. Then one day she decided that she was not her hair, and off came the alternative hair. When the wigs came off it seemed that the smile grew brighter, and so much more. She knew she was not her hair. Her hair has started to grow back, but she knows who she is with or without it.
As we mature and hormones go wacky our hair changes. It can become thinner, drier, brittle and yes it also turns gray.
While watching the movie “Black Panther”. I saw this beautiful woman with no hair. She was strong, she was confident, she was fit, she was fine, she was everything–she was not her hair. One of the best moments is when she is so uncomfortable with her alternative hair.
As I write this I am in the process of trying to decide what I want to do with my hair. Just like a lot of women of a certain age, it is a work in progress. For almost a year I have not put a relaxer on it. Color has not been on it for about two years. I have finally figured out “I am not my hair”.
As with everything else our hair changes. Remember “thisisyourbestyear”. We are not our hair.