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My Hair Journey

I wish I had never transitioned back to my natural hair.

I don’t get all the hype about black women embracing their natural hair.

It just seems so inconvenient and frankly I think it’s a complete waste of time.

I was the first person to start my natural hair journey among my siblings and cousins.

But if you see us now and look at the progress our hair has made, you’d never know that I’d started years before them.

I now find myself filled with envy because my progress is nowhere near theirs.

This hair which grew out of my head has caused so much stir in our society.

It’s been so politicized that everyone seems to have an opinion on how it should look based on their own personal comfort.

Some states have even had to pass laws in order for it to be accepted in the workplace.

And the intense scrutiny is not only coming from those from the outside who cannot fully comprehend the complexity that is our hair, it’s coming from all angles.

We get it from family, friends, employers, strangers.

This fixation on this thing that I’ve had no opinion in its selection has caused me so much anxiety over the years to the point where it's now turning me into someone I don’t like...envious.

As a teacher, if I had a shiny, red penny for every time my students mentioned how their kids, neighbors, classmates are learning faster, speaking better than them, I’d be writing this while relaxing on my yacht right now instead of the couch in my tiny living room.

Although unlike our hair, learning a new language is a choice, which in some ways makes the pressure that much more intense.

From the outside looking in, many people don’t give much thought about the health of the hair and are therefore completely oblivious to the amount of work it takes to achieve that success.

With black hair, we tend to only care about the “progress” we can see, the end result, which typically translates to the length of the hair.

Long hair is usually perceived as healthy hair. Which couldn’t be further from the truth.

The glitz and glamour of the end result of someone else’s success can be so blinding that we lose focus because we’re too busy comparing our journey to other people’s end results.

Sure, there are some very close similarities; You’re both taking classes, you started at the same time, you have had the same amount of exposure to the language.

But the fact is, just like my hair journey, there are unseen or untold elements of everyone’s journey to learning a language that is unique and personal.

It’s ok to use the outcome of others as motivation to help propel us to where we wish to be, but when comparing our reality to others’ outcome provokes jealousy, we waste time missing out on the opportunity to see how far we’ve come and how much further we can go.

Let me know in the comment below:

How do you avoid the pitfalls of comparing yourself to others while also using their progress as motivation to succeed? Is it even a challenge for you?

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