This is going to be an emotional post and, hopefully, it will resonate with some of you, so please stick around until the end.
If you read my last blog post you will notice a drastic change in my appearance. I'm totally going to spoil it for you and tell you it's my hair. I know, I'm evil for cutting to the punch, but this post isn't necessarily about the color, but more about the reason.
No, I'm not getting a divorce or experiencing a traumatic event. I bet if I polled people about why they made a drastic change in their appearance a lot would say they needed a change because of a breakup, right? Are you on that list? I am! I'm guilty of doing that many times, and as I dove deeper into why I did that I realized it was because I was insecure. It's hard to admit, but yeah, I'd think I wasn't pretty enough and that had to be why he didn't like me anymore (or at all) because there was no way it was ME. I'm awesome (eye roll). In all seriousness though, sometimes people just need a change to move forward (or move on). That was not my reason this time. Far from it.
MY DAUGHTER. Some of you may be shocked to find out that I am not a natural blonde (the horror, right?). I love being blonde. It makes me feel prettier. I like how my features just sort of blend and don't stand out too much and I've just always felt better about myself when I'm blonde (because blondes have more fun?). But then my daughter said something to me about a year ago, that literally crushed my heart. I felt the brevity of her confession in my soul and it dug up so many things from my past that I promised I would protect my daughter from as best as I could for as long as I could.
What did she say?
I don't remember the exact words, but I was brushing her hair in front of the mirror before school and she said something like, "Mom, I wish I had blonde hair like you." My heart just crumbled to pieces because not only was I a phony, but my daughter was already saying negative things about herself because the next thing she said was something like, "I hate my brown hair." Obviously, I told her my hair was naturally her color and then I tried to explain that it was easier to blend grey hair with blonde then with brown. It's the truth, after all, but I left out the part where I really like being blonde better. In that moment, I felt like I had totally failed as a mother. It may sound so silly to some of you, but I vowed to never talk about dieting or anything negative about myself in front of my kids because I didn't want them to "learn" that behavior. And, I can honestly say I've done a pretty damn good job at that, but yet here my daughter was at age 7 (she's 8 now) already not liking a part of herself because of something I did. Because I dyed my hair and, in her head, that must mean brown is ugly.
One Year Later...
That moment with my daughter stuck with me. I knew what the solution was, but I was selfish. I never felt good about myself with dark hair. I don't know why, but the thought of going natural was not an easy thing for me to do. But when my daughter mentioned it again about six months later, I knew this wasn't about how I felt about myself. It was my daughter's perception of reality and how it was affecting how she felt about HERSELF. Sidenote: My son has sandy blond hair and since my hubby has a shaved head, and ALL of her cousins have blonde her (literally, all 9), she felt like an outsider. She was the only one with brown hair and brown eyes. While I did grab this opportunity as a teaching moment to love herself as she is, I was a freakin' hypocrite! How could I say this to her when I was doing the exact opposite? Again, this may seem so petty to some of you, but a person's life and how they view the world is a collection of moments and this was one of the big moments for my daughter, and I had control of how this moment developed and flourished in her little mind. Girls are so incredibly hard on themselves through all stages of life and if I can help lessen some of the emotional trauma, then I want to! So much, I want to!
My daughter taught me an invaluable lesson. To love myself for who I am. Wow, right? There it is. And the smile on her face when I told her why I went back to my natural roots is something I will cherish and be proud of for the rest of my life. My hope is that I reached her on a cellular level so when she gets a little older and feels bad about herself for whatever reason she will remember this day and be able to say, "I'm beautiful how I am."
We have the tools to empower our children, and in a world where women are constantly fighting an uphill battle, it's even that more important to teach our daughters they are perfect how they are and teach our sons that women are at their best as they are.
If you related to my story in some way, then I encourage you to share it with others.