When Someone Says You Can’t Do It
One thing that has always eluded me is the ability to grow my hair past my shoulders. While this may not be a big deal to most, it’s something that I’ve never experienced my entire life. Due to poor maintenance, heat damage, and chemical damage, my hair has never been a pretty picture.
Ever since I stopped getting relaxers and began growing my hair naturally, I’ve experienced health and growth that I have never seen before. My hair is, as of this post, about an inch above my bra strap—and shockingly, it doesn’t look like it’s slowing down.
I’ve already surpassed my personal goals. Now I want to see if I can reach a length that I’ve never even fathomed before.
About two weeks ago, I was telling a very close family member that I was only eight inches from growing my hair to my waist. “Just two more years!” I exclaimed as I boogied though my apartment. “Adding trims to that, it will take me just two more years!”
This particular family member lives by a logical creed. Since I have been a child, she has never seen me with long hair—or healthy hair, for that matter. So, her response was what she always said: “Probably not, B. Some people just can’t grow that length.”
At the time, I ignored her tone and prattled on about just two more years, and soon enough we moved on to other topics. However, her comment stung. It wasn’t the first time I’d heard that type of negativity.
Science has already proven that African American hair, while there may be more strands on the head than other ethnicities, is also flatter and weaker than Asian and Caucasian hair. It is also drier and extremely curly, making combing and detangling a very extensive, slow-going process. With all these factors working against us, it can make the task of growing the long hair near impossible.
But it is possible.
Doing a search on YouTube for long-haired African American women yields an admirable number of results. These women combined quality products, careful application, and a heck of a lot of patience to acheive gorgeous length. And dagnabbit, I aim to do the same.
In March of 2013, my hair looked like this:
By the beginning of October, my hair had reached this length:
(You can’t see me…but I’m grinning with shock and delight as I upload these pics to this post. Weehee!)
In my heart of hearts, I knew this relative wasn’t meaning to be cruel. She was being realistic; she didn’t want me to get my hopes up with a silly notion that may never come true.
She had never seen it; I have never seen it.
But there are a lot of things that people haven’t seen or done much, that others are defying every day.
From personal goals like growing hair or paying off debt in a year, to grander aims like earning money for a new charity or regaining all aspects of your life after an accident or a disaster. They’re all possible, so long as the people involved believe in them and work to make them happen.
I’ve decided to keep quiet to my relative for now, to care for myself as usual and do what I need to do to continue growing healthy hair. We’ll see what happens in two years. Heck, we’ll see what happens in one year.
When the results are out, I’d like to think that we’ll all be pleasantly surprised.
What is something that you are working towards that someone told you YOU couldn’t do? How did it feel to defy their doubt?