My whole life I had long, thick black hair. In fact, in school the most common description of me was: “The Skinny girl with the long hair”. It was my favorite feature about myself. It was always my safety net, especially when I was feeling insecure physically. One Saturday afternoon, I went to the salon for my usual six-week touch up. As my hair dresser was doing a general run through of my hair, she noticed that my hair was experiencing breakage and suggested that I get a cut. I didn’t mind her doing a trim, but I loved my hair too much for a major cut. I looked at her through the mirror and said “Just take a little off the ends, but don’t cut anything. I am sure my hair will bounce back, it always does”. And for a little while it did…but as I entered my senior year of college, my hair started to take an interesting turn. Not only did the breakage return, but everything about my hair started to change. My hair that was once so thick and healthy was becoming thin and brittle with every time that I washed it. Every time I combed through it, I would see my hair falling out by the masses and the breakage that my hair dresser warned me of was even worse than it was before. For MONTHS, I tried everything and no matter what I did whether it was trying new products, protective styling, or restorative treatments…nothing was helping me get my hair back to the healthy state it once was in. Rather with every day that went by it was only getting worse. I remember calling my mother in tears not knowing what else to do. Like always, she gave me the advice that I needed to hear, even though my heart may not have been quite ready to accept it. She calmed me down from my tears of distress, took a deep breath, and simply said: “Linda, you’re going to have to cut it all off and start over. Your hair is dead. ” As she uttered those words to me, I was looking in the mirror stroking the few long strands of hair that were left on my hair and I knew she was right. I knew I should’ve cut it off the moment my hair dresser suggested. But I wouldn’t because I holding onto what it once was. I refused to believe my hair was dead because I couldn’t let go of what my hair once was. In life, sometimes we hold onto dead situations because we become so enchanted in the glory of the past that we can’t accept the present for what it is. Instead of cutting out the exhausted weight and moving forward with our lives, we try to remedy situations only to find that nothing is working. We hold onto failing relationships, past situations, toxic friendships and so many other things that are gone beyond repair, hoping that things will evolve back to what we want them to be….trying to recreate the greatness that we once knew them to be, but they never will be. Because once it’s died, the only thing left for us to do is to cut it off and start anew.
More often times than not, when God allows something to wither away from our lives, it’s for our own good. It gives us the opportunity to see life from a different lens so that we can create something new and unprecedented. It allows us to create something that will manifest us into something better and more rewarding than we ever had before…something that will catapult us into becoming the people that He has always designed for us to be. But we can’t expect to look through the new lenses that God has for us, if we insist on cleaning our old, tired ones. We can’t expect for our new self to shine through, if we insist on maintaining our old, dusty beings. We can’t move forward, if we insist on looking backwards. And we can’t expect to experience life, if we insist on holding on to what’s dead.
I have to admit, when I finally cut my hair off, I was so nervous. I was terrified to let go of something I’ve had forever. But as soon as I did, my thick, healthy black hair returned. Only this time, it grew back even better than it was before. When you cut ties with the baggage that’s holding you back, you’ll see how your life will flourish into something better than you ever imagined. And as I now smile in the mirror on wash days to admire my curly Angela Davis fro, I imagine that you will share that same elation, as you cut off the old and start embracing YOUR new.