Thursday, December 1, 2016

Acceptance

I have finally embraced my hair. It's been a thirty year fight of haircuts, color, product, endless hours of blowdrying, clipping, hairbands and ponytails.

All my life, people have told me what thick hair I have and how lucky I am. The problem is that my hair is straight from the top of my head and from the occipital bone down, it is curly. This miss-match has been the source of my hair confusion-conundrum. There have been few people who know how to cut it and once it is salon blown-dry, it lays nice and flat, but the minute I try to care for it, it goes wonky!

I finally decided to not fight it anymore. Straight, curly, mismatched--let it be.

Once the decision was made, it all fell into place--literally. Once the fight to straighten it ended, it became more curly, but the curls worked with one another. I learned how to brush before I showered and leave it alone to air dry into a happy state. I started getting compliments that went beyond "thick hair," into "enviable hair." I've even been asked what products I use. None. Nada.

Yesterday, my friend cried in my company. She shared that her son likes men and it's been a hard thing to process. On some days, she is happy, put together, and only wants her son to be happy--but he's not--yet. For some, it is a natural acceptance; for others, it is a process. For some it is neither. We both understand the trial, and yesterday as I listened to a gay man talk about his memoir on NPR, he mentioned the statistics of the all the beautiful, confused, men we have lost to suicide. Whether it came from being bullied, from parent or self denial, it caused enough pain to overrule life. My friend knows in her son's confusion, he too may think of suicide as a way out.

As we talked, we wondered if the situation could really just be simple acceptance. Finally embracing the circumstances just as they are. No need for judgement--that is not her burden.

The comparison to my hair is trivial, but are they not the same journey? Struggle, then acceptance, and finally joy?

However, to reaching acceptance, often requires a journey. In my friend's journey, she has needed a time for mourning. To mourn the life expected for her child--to see him marry traditionally, to hold the children who would have come from his womb too. But all of this pale's to her son accepting and adjusting to his path, just as his mother so desperately wants to accept and adjust to her path too.