Life Lesson 1:
USE YOUR FINGERS TO COMB YOUR HAIR
Yeah, yeah that’s me on the far right with the dress on 🙂 and be before you start making crummy jokes, that was my favourite dress socks and shoes!Yes my favourite and here’s the thing, joking aside… it didn’t need to be anyone else’s favourite but mine. No one else needed to like my outfit but me, but then that’s not what we’re taught are we? We are not taught how to celebrate our me-ness. And as a consequence, you can find yourself living a life that’s pleasing to everyone, but you.
See, we’re not handed a manual on how to live our lives when we get here. Most if not all of us arrive kicking and screaming and most continue kicking and screaming through their lives. If not kicking and screaming, then complaining and for the most part unhappy. Unhappy with jobs, relationships, generally life. Many never really consider whether they are living their ‘best life’ much less getting to grips with it. This, to my mind, is so incredibly unfortunate, to never really know whether the most important factor of life factor of our lives is being effectively fulfilled in a tragedy. Particularly as we don’t get another shot at it, I mean life… We don’t get to try again, once we’re gone, we’re gone!
I don’t know about you but I have always had questions about why we’re here. I’ve never bought into the idea that magnificent beings as we are, are simply here to live to work and work until we retire and retire and wait to die. I may sound a bit morbid, but it’s the harsh reality of many people lives. I opted out of this ideology a long time ago. I rather die than live what I’ve just described. I’ve left the path of drudgery, packed in my job, stopped trying to make a living and simply began to live on my terms. I decided to go on a journey of self-discovery and in the process, I’ve learned a lot, slipped a lot, fallen a lot, been hurt a lot, spent bag loads of money, lost bag loads of money, but in the process I found me! And I learned tons of valuable life lessons.
YES we DO need to be taught how to living a 9 – 5 existence instead of identifying our best lives… Life isn’t just about to working to live, but how about exploring a life congruent with who we are, not with who we’ve been told we’re supposed to be and do. How can one possibly know what they are supposed to do with their lives if they’ve never been taught to recognise, maximise and celebrate who they are?
My journey of finding me has been a long, exciting yet scary one. Growing up as a so-called ethnic minority with the reigns of your life in the hands of a majority who neither recognised or respected you is scary, particularly when you small and wanting to be accepted. It’s scary to let go of what you have, to grab on to what appears to nothing! It’s difficult to walk the other way when the majority are walking in the opposite direction. It’s difficult to find yourself when you’re taught to conform, to be like everyone else, but I learned that difficult is far from impossible.
I still hold very vivid memories of standing in a line at the age of 5 with a group of Caucasian children. I was the only black child in my class at the time, we were waiting to have our annual school photo taken. The photographer was in the hall waiting. We were supposed to be joined by our siblings for the photo. There was an air of excitement amongst the children, everyone all dressed up and ready. To add the final touches my class teacher, who was herself caucasian, walked down the line with a small toothed red comb in her hand. She was using it to comb each child’s hair. The comb of course glided smoothly through the Caucasian children’s hair, but when she got to me it was a different story, instead smoothly glad ding through my hair, it became entangled in my tight curled, African heritage hair.
Isn’t it funny how life will appear to regularly present a completely different story for you than it does everyone else? How it will often appear that everyone else has the easy road to somewhere. Whilst you’re stuck on the slow road to nowhere!
The children began to laugh and I began to blush… Not that anyone could notice, my skin dark enough to hide it. One of the advantages of dark skin… blush don’t show!
She tugged again and again, and again, “Ouch!” I yelled, eyes welling up with tears. Startled at my yell and perhaps my hair she began to blush. “Settle down children” she announced nervously, removed the comb from and quickly moved to the child with more compliant hair beside me.
Life will do that, after embarrassing and shaming you simply carry on as of nothing happened. The morning will come and life will simply carry on. Leaving you to find your way its often tangled web of ups and downs.
My small mind understood why the comb couldn’t go through my hair, but what I struggled to understand was why she hadn’t prepared for me. She knew I was in her class, she knew my hair was different, not like rest of kids, why hadn’t she prepared for my hair? Why hadn’t she bought a comb with larger size teeth for my hair? I very quickly learned that you’re not always going to fit…. Life is rarely tailor made. Your life is no one’s responsibility but yours. I took matters into my own hands and proceeded to combing my hair with my fingers.
All too often we relinquish responsibility for lives to others, to the government, to leaders, to our spouse, our children, and so one, but the reality is, we are
Rarely will life present you with the right size comb for your hair. It won’t willingly and politely give you what you need to live your potential and purpose. It’s not gonna come to you as a ready fit. In fact, if you fail to fit its norm, it will, like my early year’s teacher move on to someone who does. Where does that leave you? You have a choice, conform, become everyone else, or comb your hair with your fingers!
See, there’s going to times in life when your idea, your voice, your stance, your look, your vision, your way of doing seeing things is going to be overlooked, belittled, dismissed or even destroyed. When this happens… use comb your hair with your fingers!