Published on September 10th, 2012 | by thevyne1
I Am Not My Hair
By Nikki Bolt
This year I embarked on a journey to make new discoveries and do adventurous things that I’ve never done before. You may recall that I went skydiving last year and had an amazing experience. It was freeing and exhilarating. This year, I decided to take a risk and complete some additional daring adventures that I have not experienced. This was my year to be in the moment and live a little more.
On my trek to discovering all things adventurous, I decided to try whitewater rafting first. I envisioned that I would brave the rapids, paddle feverishly over the waves and get one of the biggest thrills of my life. I bought one of those internet deals and immediately thought, what am I going to do about my hair? How will my hair withstand the rapids, the waves?? I booked the rafting trip on a Sunday, the salon is closed on Mondays so I would have to wait until Tuesday for an appointment. Many of you know exactly what I’m talking about… I almost cancelled my trip but then realized that I was missing out on so much because of my hair.
It’s really silly when you really think about it. I’m not a vain person, but I have been to the salon every two weeks for as far back as I can remember. I’ve spent so much time and money in the salon. The salon for me, is a meeting place of some friends, but also a place where I can have a few moments of being “pampered” and take care of my most respected jewel – my hair. I realized that I’ve let me hair dictate what I do and how I do it. My beach days, vacations and my workout regimen were dictated by my hair. My whitewater rafting trip and the other experiences that I planned from my bucket list were at risk because of my hair and I was determined to get past that in 2012.
Why are we so caught up with our hair? I think many of us are focused on the wrong thing as I was for so long. Yes, our appearance is very important, but I now know that it doesn’t have to dictate every aspect of my life. Look at what happened at the Olympics 2012 in London, England. The first African American women won Gold in gymnastics and many of “us” were so focused on her hair. She made history and made all Americans proud, yet, “we” didn’t support her the way that we should have because of how her hair looked. Again, silly right?
I thought about it and told myself, Nikki, if you want to live and have certain experiences, you need to let go of the hair “issue”. You can figure this thing out and have more fun with your life. There are so many options available these days and btw, it did help that I found a place that is open on Sundays and Mondays for maintenance 😉
So back to whitewater rafting. I took the plunge and had another great experience with a dear friend. We were soaked from head to toe when it was all said and done. We swam in one the most beautiful rivers in PA and created a wonderful memory that was not dictated by our hair. I was also able to cross off an item on my bucket list and have a little more adventure in my life;)
Whitewater rafting was just the beginning for me. I went tubing, sailing and started cycling this year. Zipling was also on the list but wasn’t impacted by my perceived hair issue. While I did all of these wonderful things, I was reminded that this is still as issue for many. On all of these adventures, I did not see any other African American women. Is it because of our hair or something else? I’m not 100% sure, but it is disappointing not to see many of us enjoying the outdoors and all that life has to offer.
My hair is still a very important aspect of who I am and I’d be telling an untruth if I said that I take on new adventures without hesitation. I still think about how the adventure will impact my hair. The difference now is that I realize what I may be missing and do the adventure anyway because at the end of the day, I realize that I am not my hair.