Every year on November 15th, people worldwide write letters to themselves in honour of “I love writing” day. This annual event was founded by John Riddle, a self-help author known for his “101” style of writing. “101 ways to de-stress your life” is his most popular self-help book by far.
Today I decided to combine “I love writing” day with John Riddle’s “101” method and write a letter to my hair and the ten things that I have learnt from it (101 is just a little much).
Hi. It’s me, the rest of the body. How’s the weather up there? Okay, no more tall jokes, I promise. I’m writing you a letter today to explain just how much you’ve taught me over the years. I appreciate your putting up with all the angry pulling-my-hair-out and all the deep-in-thought head-scratching. For powering through the midnight bleach decisions and the 4 AM asymmetrical bob (which we pulled off). But you’ve not just put up with so much; you taught me more lessons than I can count. So here are just ten.
- Just like hair grows back, confidence does too
Many of us have made bad decisions in our youth. While some may be as small as a pre-exam haircut, others can be so embarrassing that you feel like you’ll never recover. An ill-timed snort or a misspelt application, confidence feels like a fickle thing. But the thing about time is that mistakes and decisions fade. Self-love grows back, and as long as you promise not to cut at it with a pair of art scissors again, there’s a good chance you’ve learnt a valuable lesson along the way.
- Bad times like split ends have an end
We’ve all looked at our split ends and tried to pull them apart. It usually breaks in the middle and leaves you with a headache looking at your hair so closely. Bad times work the same way. If you focus too closely on all the misfortunes swirling around you, you’re going to give yourself a pretty bad headache. But if you spend that same energy working your way out of it and coming up with ways to solve it, you’ll find that your bad times do have an end. It’s all about perspective and moving forward.
- Treat damaging relationships like damaged ends and just cut them off
Look, I know how hard it is to say goodbye to those blond streaks that you thought looked so cool when they were freshly dyed. But not everything ages well. And unfortunately, the same goes for friendships and relationships. Some friendships can turn toxic or bring unwanted negativity into your life. It’s important to know when it’s time to snip the line and move forward.
- If you want to look good, you have to feel good
I’ve noticed that the better I eat, the better my hair looks. If I’ve got a bounce in my step, you can there’s a bounce in my hair too. It’s the same way for character development too. You become good from the inside out, and trust me, that goodness shines through. You feel better when you do better and when you do better, you look better to the outside world. Why? Because you are better. So you better believe it!
- If charity begins at home, self-care starts with your hair
It’s funny how we tend to take care of ourselves only when a problem surfaces. Only when the stress hits and the hair is falling out in clumps, do we decide to step up our routine. Well, I’ve finally broken that habit, and I’ve got my hair at the top of my self-care list. There’s nothing quite like a deep oil massage to ensure that self-care treats my stresses instead of stresses affecting my tresses!
- It’s ok to fall flat some days
Every type of hair has a personality. Mine oils up faster than others, and after a few days of showering, it falls flat. I used to get super worried about walking around with greasy hair. Now I’ve realised that wishing my hair looked like an airbrushed model every day is unrealistic. My hair needs a day off to just lie around sometimes, and frankly, so do I. It’s good to remember to cut yourself some slack.
- A show of confidence is as important as a pop of colour
I’ve had almost every hair colour under the sun. From blonde to blue, I’ve done it all. I realised that all those midnight bleaching decisions (thankfully a habit of the past) were a way to brighten my day through colour. Sometimes I was just in dire need of a change, especially when circumstances in my life felt out of control. So the lesson learnt was to be my hype-woman through small acts of confidence. A bold lip, a pop of colour or a statement necklace are the best ways to pep yourself up on those Monday mornings.
- Your hair connects you to your roots
I spent a lot of time in high school wishing that I had straight hair because Hollywood portrayed me as the ideal hair type. There were days I’d wake up early to straighten the front parts of my hair just so that I could look like Hilary Duff. Now that I’m older (and hopefully wiser), I’ve rediscovered my curly hair and couldn’t be more in love with it. My mother has curly hair, as did her mother and hers – hair is living, breathing heritage baby!
- No two strands are the same; neither are two people
Perhaps the thing that I’ve struggled with the most is jealousy. The desire to “be the best” made me envious of anyone who I thought already was. Inspiration was a foreign word for me but not any more. The whole concept of “being the best” has luckily been put to rest (I am a rap god), and I’ve learnt to value everyone for their individuality.
- Taking care of the little things is as easy as a switch
Last but not the least is the reason why I was able to build a relationship with my hair in the first place. My hair and I weren’t in a good place until Jan of this year. I had horrible dandruff and a very oily scalp. My hair was frizzy, dry and there wasn’t a curl in sight. I decided to give Switchfix shampoo bars a try. My pollutant scarred scalp began to heal, and my colour damaged hair began to repair itself. Styling my hair has become fun again, and I do feel like a new person.
Taking care of my hair may seem like a small thing, but it’s the little things that add up to a big difference.
And you, dear hair, made a world of difference to me.
PS: I look up to you (one final tall joke, sorry)