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Basking In My Baldness: How I Discovered Self-Love After Hair Loss

Her Voice

If I knew what the price of my "YES" looked like before submitting to God's will for my life, I would have said it over and over again even if "NO" was in the equation.


As life went on, I soon realized that the price of my "yes" was expensive as hell.

I remember asking God what our original conversation was like in heaven and what did I agree to before I was sent to this earth? I tell you one thing, we as willing vessels must remember that our "YES" never started here on earth, but our commitment begin when we said "YES" in heaven.

Defining My Beauty Outwardly

Growing up, I had long, thick, wooly hair that touched the middle of my back. I would get bullied not only about my big lips, nose, and eyes, but also because of my beautiful hair. I would often hide my lips and keep quiet in school because I didn't want my peers to remind me of what others had already consistently made fun of me about.

All these insecurities manifested in my early childhood and translated into adulthood. Many of us, including myself, spend our adult life recovering from our childhood and it can cost you in so many ways if you are not willing to step outside yourself to heal and/or get help.

On my journey to self-love, I found my voice through the art of dance, which provided me with an opportunity to understand the power of self-investment. At an early age, I believed in investing in my personal interests, my character, and my spiritual development because I wanted to be the best that I could be. When your life lacks structure and has no previous blueprint, you must create it so that it makes sense to you and how you choose to live your life abundantly.

We must remember to take time for the things that matter the most, invest in ourselves, apply what will work, and never get so high in life that we can't listen to anyone or learn anything new.

Les Brown said it best, "You are never too old to learn and you're never too young to teach."

Discovering My Beauty Inwardly

I was 18 years old when I started to lose my long hair, and the balding drastically permeated throughout my entire scalp, causing me to lose 70% of my hair. From hot-comb sessions, perms, braids, and other hair styles, the damage was slowly beginning.

Life without hair took me to some extreme places, such as dealing with dark depression, anxiety, insecurities, as well as an autoimmune disorder.

For years, I hid behind wigs, scarves, head wraps, and hats because I was so insecure about my condition. I even learned how to use tricks to make it appear like I had a head full of hair using keratin protein hair fibers. On Tuesday, June 19, 2018, I finally got down to the bottom of my condition and was diagnosed with CCCA, which stands for Central Centrifugal Cicatricial Alopecia. To add to that, some of my scalp was also covered with folliculitis, which is inflammation of the hair follicles.

What most people don't know is that my condition affected my personal and professional life as an artist, causing me to lose interest in dance because I felt exposed and embarrassed, especially in an entertainment industry where image perception means everything.

Learning To Reveal So We Can Heal

After 8 ½ years of research and no final solutions for my hair condition, I looked in the mirror on Saturday June 23, 2018. That day, God wanted me to show Him/Her how beautiful I was regardless of my hair condition. So, I went to the mirror, grabbed my clippers, and went to shaving my hair again. Moreover, I did it because I had found the courage and GOD-fidence to see what God saw.

I embraced my condition, took some time off social media, and put my needs first. I listened to my body and kept in mind that what's happening externally is happening internally, and what's happening in the physical realm first manifests itself in the spiritual realm.

Thank you, God, for taking away my hair because it meant that I needed to get closer to you, to understand what true love is, and to not depend on it to validate my beauty. I can now say that my glory is not found in my crown (hair), but is embedded in the makeup of me.

The price of our "YES' can be expensive as hell, I tell you. The things we go through aren't about us, and instead make us stronger to then help others. I want to encourage anyone that battles with the silent unforbidden wars of extreme hair loss.Let us bow our heads in honor of acknowledging the loss but let us raise our heads to gain our self-esteem back and fix our tilted crowns.

As Iyanla Vanzant says, "We can't heal what we don't reveal."

Don't mind me, I'm just basking in my baldness!

Featured image by Shanelle Amor

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
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Featured image by Shutterstock

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