When I was twelve, my birth mother cut my hair off. She grabbed and twisted my long Jheri curled tresses in her fist to butcher them in bloody clumps.
I sat there.
I didn’t fight.
I said nothing.
She talked while she cut.
She said I was ugly.
She said I would never amount to anything.
She said she should have flushed me down the toilet when she had the chance.
“Now no one will look at you,” she muttered through righteously triumphant teeth, after she had finished.
Fast forward to now.
Weeks before I’m to keynote on the biggest platform I have ever had…
…my face and words on three billboards on major highways in Sacramento…
…10,000 postcards mailed with my image as the focus…
…my hair starts to fall out at the temples.
“God, please, no” I prayed to trauma shocked eyes in the mirror as I tried to stretch the hair on the top of my head over both balding spots.
That’s when I discovered my hair felt very thin at the top. The thinning was in the same area where Momma’s cuts in my hair drew the most blood.
As my fingers remembered how fragile my hair felt after the cutting, I felt my body go numb.
Just like it did when Momma was cutting my hair off.
I left my body.
I felt my spirit die.
It’s called disassociation.
It’s a trauma response when one feels helpless.
My stylist/colorist specializes in hair health and is treating my hair weekly.
I don’t feel pretty right now.
I don’t feel powerful today.
And if I tell the truth, I’m tired of fighting.
Right now, sadness is clouding my eyes, fogging my brain, and choking my breath.
It looks like I will have to wear a protected style for my keynote in a few weeks.
I know it’s “just hair.”
But when you have been raised to believe you are ugly and God blesses you with a huge platform, to have your hair shed, thin and/or break, it feels like a kick in the face.
It makes all the things Momma said seem true.
(Please, hear me out.
Don’t try to fix it.
Please, hear me.)
They say the enemy knows your weakness. So expect attacks when you are on the cusp of doing something great.
It makes sense that my sense of self would come under attack right now.
I’m about to reach many women who I can empower.
Empowering others when you don’t feel empowered requires total dependence on God.
“Though he slay me, yet will I trust him.”
So, I’m trusting God to help me get my keynote address finished, my workshop slides completed, and my hope back.
I pray for God to heal my hair and my heart of all the malicious crimes against my body by people, women and men, who said they love me.
I ask God to help me grieve this loss in a healthy way, so I grow instead of give up.
Help me, Lord.
Send your angels to camp around me to protect me as I do your will for my life.
Right now I feel really sad.
Momma’s violence on my body is only a mirror of the violence acted out on hers.
Hurt people hurt people.
Helpless people make other people helpless in order to feel powerful.
Oppression, oppresses through the ones who have been oppressed. So I have nothing but love for Momma. Life made her unwell. And yes, I bear the scars of my mother and the wounds from the absence of my father.
But be very clear: the scarring and wounding stops with me.
I will not hurt others because I was hurt.
I will not hurt myself because I was hurt.
I will not use being hurt to give up on me.
I will heal from this.
I will prosper from this.
I will grow from this.
And I will give wisdom from this wound.
The wisdom from this wound will help others.
So, I will grieve, and pray, and get my hair treatments, wear a wig, or get my hair cut—WHATEVER IT TAKES—so I walk through the door God has opened for me called California Women’s Festival, fully restored.
I do not measure my healing by ease.
I measure my healing by staying the course even when EVERYTHING in me wants to die.
God kept me alive for a purpose bigger than I can see.
And even if I have to shave my head BALD, and walk in the authority of the Most High up on that stage in Sacramento, CA with nothing BUT my truth, I will finish this.
I will fulfill my destiny.
One step at a time.
Thanks for witnessing.
I love you,