Snapshots: Beauty in Every Phase

It was a cool January night in Redding, California. I sat in a chair in my apartment as my friend walked in with a pair of scissors. I was nervous and not 100% sure what I was doing, but I knew it needed to be done. It was time.

My friend asked me if I was sure? I just told her to do it, because if she didn’t, I knew it would never happen.

So, she did. Taking a section of my hair, she cut where my natural hair and processed hair met. She snipped and snipped and I watched my hair fall around me. There was no turning back. I was stunned as it was more hair on the ground than on my head.

I remember her finishing and gushing about how much she liked my curls. I honestly didn’t know what to say or do. My roommates were lounging in the living room eager to see my new hair. Throwing on a hoodie, I hid it and rushed to the bathroom.

I wasn’t ready. I hadn’t embraced it. I was honestly embarrassed. I looked at myself in the mirror and for the first time saw me. No longer did my hair go a little bit past my shoulders. No longer was it straight. It was short and the curls were hard to find.

Dramatic? Maybe, but when I decided to go on this natural hair journey, I honestly did it out of wanting something new and being curious about my hair. Was there opposition? Yup. Yup. Yup. I found myself holding back from fear of what others would think or say. But that fateful night, January 20th, 2013, I didn’t care.

I remember styling it for the first time and going out in public. It was unnerving as I realized I’d never had my hair this short.

Choosing to go natural went from just a thing to do to a journey of embracing the things that made me. I began to see how much I was hiding behind my hair/looks. With my hair this short, there was no bang or side-swoop to crawl under. There was my face. No hiding. I had to discover me beyond straight hair.

Before: Circa. 2010. Also a time when my makeup was terrible. #grace #growth.

Before: Circa. 2010. Also a time when my makeup was terrible. #grace #growth.

After: circa February 2013. Makeup game is still in process but again #grace #growth.

After: circa February 2013. Makeup game is still in process but again #grace #growth.

Now, four years later, I don’t regret it. It’s been a fun, challenging, and sometimes annoying journey. Watching my hair go from this:

Circa. 2013. Photo Cred: Cadence Meeks

Circa. 2013. Photo Cred: Cadence Meeks

To this:

Is encouraging and exciting. There’s been growth even when it hasn’t felt like it. But there are the days in between that aren’t documented that hit was with the hardest punch. The days where my hair is in a puff simply because the thought of de-tangling is a turn off. The days were “wash” time is approaching and it’s accepting the fact that it’s gonna take a minute to do it well and not having the interest or energy to do it well.

In the beginning, it was all hype and excitement. I was that naturalista who read every blog and article there was to read. I was anti-heat and freaked out anytime I used it. I was constantly trimming/dusting my ends. Let’s not even get me started on the hair regime. I had one and it was filled with DIY recipes (some including bananas and avocados --- FYI really messy and not a fan). Over time, the hype wore off and I got into a rhythm. I became okay with applying heat and using clarifying shampoos (I was team co-wash for a minute). The fun was still there and I was getting used to everything. I let go of my product junkie ways and nestled into my go-to products. But everything went from a rhythm to complacency real quick. By year 2-2.5, the diligence and fervor that was there in the beginning was dwindling. I honestly was at a point of needing something new. Something fresh. This need amplified through year 3.

*pause*

How often do we try a new thing, start something new and lose heart in the process? In the beginning, we are excited and have vision, but a rhythm is found and in that rhythm, we often go from being comfortable to complacent. Certain things begin to fall through the cracks. Motivation is low and the desire to jump ship is every so high. I know that was me with my hair and I knew it was time for a change. It was time to remember my why and be motivated again.

So, one ordinary Sunday afternoon, while running errands, it hit me. This month would be four years natural, I should do something new. I should take my hair seriously again. I’d toyed with this idea of “something new” for over a year but never committed to it because of fear. But, that Sunday, (two weeks ago), I decided to go for it.  I decided to take a risk with my hair and color it (as you can see). It may not seem big, but for me this was huge. In taking this risk, motivation returned. Motivation to not be complacent with my hair. Motivation to be intentional in taking care of her, because she is an extension of me. Motivation to find a rhythm again and find joy in that rhythm.

Now, I know this whole time I’ve been talking about hair, but this honestly can be applied anywhere. I know I went through this process with TWL. Those first few months, the hype was real. The motivation and vision was strong. By the summer time, a rhythm was found but by the fall, especially October to December, the motivation was low and the desire to put brakes on it all definitely flirted with me. But, December was the perfect time to take stock, to remember my why, and cast vision anew.

Whatever your process may be, whether it’s a self-love journey with your hair or body or it’s a new project or business, whatever it is, know this: there is beauty in the newness and excitement that comes with something new. There is also beauty in the middle ground, when things settle and find a rhythm, and there is beauty in the low moments, when desire and motivation are low. There is beauty in every phase, because you get to be powerful in where it takes you. Will you let discouragement and lack of motivation deter you? Or will you let those low moments be a time to remember your why and cast new vision?

Danae Carson is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of This Wondrous Life. With a passion for creativity, dreams, and community you will find in the content she creates an eagerness for others to be awaken to their dreams and creativity. When she isn't busy running This Wondrous Life, Danae can be found working a 9-5 in Washington, D.C. and when she's not there, she can be found making areopress coffee at home, brainstorming and dreaming up how to best live present with those around her. Danae resides in the suburbs of Maryland. To learn more about her and This Wondrous Life, you can follow the journey on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!