A lot of people would say curly hair is a blessing, but for a long time it felt like a curse to me. I struggled with insecurity anyway, and it didn't help that my hair was often a frizzy mess. I have had all of the clichéd exchanges you can imagine, from old women telling me that they would pay money to have my curls to a young woman telling me she would “cut off both her arms to have crazy curly hair” like me. Ah, thanks. I think.
Go with the flow.
No matter what I do with my hair, it does its own thing. Thankfully, when I was sixteen I learned the cardinal curly hair rule: DO NOT BRUSH YOUR HAIR. This has made a world of difference, but my hair is still wild. After years of fighting the curl, I've come to realize that I can either fight and be disgusted with its wildness or I can take care of my hair and accept that it is not going to be perfect. Ever. This is something my dad calls "being flexible." He likes to remind those around him, "Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape." I can do my best to make good decisions in life, but I am not in control, so I have to roll with the punches. Just like curly hair isn't perfect, neither is life.
There is no comparison.
I'm ecstatic to be teaching Sunday School again, and yesterday's lesson was on not comparing yourself to others. WHAT?! I'm teaching the very lesson that my own heart needs to hear. So what if my friends' hairs seem to fall smoothly just the way they want them? My hair was created to be curly. In the same way, my life is not going to go as smoothly as the lives of others appear to be going. (Note that I didn't say "as smoothly as the lives of others" because most of the time, the lives that I think are going smoothly are really just as rippled as mine!)
Take responsibility and let it go.
My mom didn't have curly hair, so she taught me to brush my hair the way she brushed hers. It wasn't until I was a teenager that I finally took responsibility for learning how to take care of MY hair - and figuring out that what works for some people doesn't work for me! How often do we try to emulate others to the detriment of our sanity? I have to remind myself to do what works for me - to take responsibility for myself - and not worry about the rest. After all, if I'm making the best decision possible with the resources available to me, I can have no regrets.
Sometimes, I use a straightening iron and make my curls smooth and straight. It doesn't last, though. Underneath, I'm still a curly-haired girl, and I always will be. And I'm fine with that.
What about you? What have you learned from your unchangeable physical characteristics?