The deeper implications of hair! Emancipation!

Set your real self free!

Set your real self free! I’m setting myself free. No, I haven’t been tied to a chair in the basement for years or anything quite so sinister. I’ve simply given up fighting with my hair. It’s curly. For years I have bullied it, blown it dry, rollered it, maybe even scared it straight, only for it to have its revenge the very instant I stepped into the moist Vancouver air.

I love curly hair on other women. In my eyes, their curls have always had a certain lovely symmetry that mine stubbornly resist. So I placed my focus elsewhere. As a teen-ager in the sixties, I wanted to look like Cher. In fact, I would have been happy to look like just about any other girl whose hair was long, straight and gleaming down her back. No frizz in sight. When I looked in the mirror then, the hair that showed itself to me was unacceptable.

And so, I embarked on a long mission to punish it for its gross insubordination. Sometimes it worked. Mostly it found ways to sabotage my efforts and grab attention that would most certainly have been more productively directed.So I surrender. I bow to my curly headed self and pay my respects to a little more of the real me.All this might be a rather frivolous and possibly vain pursuit on the surface but I think somewhere lurking beneath this hair emancipation, is something more important…self-acceptance.Self-acceptance can be a long journey.

Self acceptance

But, it is a journey worth taking. After all, when we accept who we are and how we are, the anvil that takes the form of other peoples’ judgment lifts and allows us to breathe a little more freely.Women have a particular challenge on the road to self-acceptance. It is littered with sound bites that would have us believe we are not wonderful enough, beautiful enough, good enough or just plain enough to be happy with our real selves or for anyone else to be happy with us either. Self acceptance

And, in spite of never saying it out loud, I have believed them, until recently. The fact that these messages, be they overt or subliminal, continue to take up space in the media, and in general conversation, is perhaps an indication that many of you, at one time or another, have too.

It is not that we must stop caring about how we present ourselves. Nowhere has it been written that self-acceptance can only come when we eschew the concerns that make us feminine. I’m not saying that. What I am saying is that when how we look aligns with who we are and not some facsimile of an ideal dreamed up by goodness-knows-who, we can be free to concentrate on other, more important things.

So, I’m making a start. I’m allowing my hair to be, as it has always wanted to be.

Have you made a start? What is it like for you?

strong>Gwyn Teatro

Worth Knowing
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Gwyn Teatro is the author of internationally acclaimed leadership blog " You're not the boss of me" . She is a Certified Professional Coach with a Masters of Science degree in Management. With career experience spanning financial services and HR, Gwyn has coached, senior business leaders and groups on leadership, organizational effectiveness and strategic business planning. Although now technically retired, she continues to have a keen interest in leadership development and helping leaders (or those who aspire to be), find their success.


  • Anita says:

    A straight haired writer piping in here…I can’t relate to the battle of the frizz but, I have found that entering the mid forties (for me) has brought about a few things:
    more gray hair, failing eyesight, an ability to let go of a lot of things and the most powerful thing, “self-acceptance”. Having finally arrived at accepting who I am, I feel a new lease on life! Self-acceptance…Now wouldn’t it be great if they sold that in a bottle?

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