I found a small legal pad with some notes from my late grandmother. They were in one of the many boxes I’m just unpacking because it takes two hours to unpack a box when you’re crying into it as you go.
I admit, I was hoping for words of wisdom but what I found was four pages about a “woman’s seasons” and how a woman’s hair is part of her sexuality. (Interesting in and of itself.) It’s like she attended a horrible “hair seminar.” She was definitely not a hairstylist, so I’m not sure if this was something she saw on tv, heard at a ladies circle meeting, or maybe it was some kind of multi-level marketing scheme. [Update: My mom just called and said it had to do with a book called “Color Me Beautiful” that was popular at the time.]
The last paragraph of her notes read, “Hair is a tool in which a woman can express her sexuality and how she feels about herself. Women who neglect their hair or wear an unflattering style are telling the world they are afraid to be beautiful.”
I agree... it’s hilarious and pure crap. But buried below the surface of these shallow words is a deep truth. If we, as women, neglect or deny who we are, we are telling the world we are afraid to be our authentic, beautiful selves.
It’s so true. If we cannot understand our own value, feel our relevance in the lives of those around us, hear the beat of our own hearts, or be passionately driven by the wild river running deep through our beings, we must fear something. If we can ignore all the things that make each of us an original, one-and-only, limited edition, fragile, valuable, timeless, worthy individual, then we must fear our authenticity will lead to our isolation. We fear being cast out, like women have experienced throughout centuries of patriarchal, misogynistic cultures which have only allowed women to rent their space rather than own it. It’s time to become homeowners.
It’s also true many men and women are intimidated by authentic people. Our own shortcomings and self doubt causes us to feel inferior. Then inferiority leads to endless comparison, a constant side-by-side of souls that’s about as accurate as comparing apples to alligators. And Instagram makes these comparisons available 24/7, 365 (social media can lead to connectedness or joy-embezzlement, we choose).
Logically, we understand apples and alligators are two totally different things; but simultaneously, fear of inadequacy (irrelevance, isolation, etc.) has skewed our perception of everything. So much so, we sit and rip ourselves apart because maybe you’re a gator and dammit, you think somehow you could be an apple if you got a better job, more money, lost 50 pounds, had a happier family, less wrinkles, tummy tuck, “gifted” kids, and a larger house.
It’s all lies. We don’t need any of those things. I mean do what makes you happy, but deep inside please know you are beautiful, and valuable, and exactly who you were created to be. Sure, we all have things we want to improve in our lives whether it involves our health, relationships, finances, etc.
If you’ll stop, lock the kids in the basement with dad & a Disney movie, and take a flippin’ second to listen intently to the wild, raging river of authenticity deep in your being, you will be absolutely gobsmacked by what’s been inside YOU this entire time. It’s YOU. And there is nothing truer, more beautiful, stronger, or more resilient... stop doubting who you are. Stop the endless comparisons. Stop renting space in everyone else's truth but your own; own your authenticity. YOU ARE ENOUGH.