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"You can remember the second and the third and the fourth time, but there's no time like the first. It's always there." - Shelagh Delaney
Friday night, and I've just gotten in from running errands. As I place my purse and grocery bags on the counter, I look down at my phone for the time. 9 o'clock--perfect! Just in time to get everything settled and ready for this special night. I browse through my phone to make sure that I've not only gotten everything I needed from my check-list but to ensure that I've answered my friends "call me as soon as it's over," "praying for you girl," and "it may be painful at first, but you'll survive" texts. I respond to one more message before finally putting my phone in airplane mode. No offense to my friends, but I want tonight to be special. And special to me, it means no interruptions.
9:30, and I've got dinner cooking on the stove. Considering the type of appetite that's about to be worked up, I'm not shying away from the comfort food I'm going to need. I light up my favorite scented candle and turn on my favorite playlist--90s quiet storm. Now fresh out of the shower and lathered in Du Vin de Labadie body oil, I face the mirror. I'm not sure why, but I'm breathing quite heavily. Maybe it's the steam from the bath or just anticipation for what's about to go down; whatever it is, the tension's quite thick in this bathroom. Taking slow deep breaths to calm my nerves further before I back out, I say,
"I'm ready for you…"
I grab the pair of metal scissors on my counter top, a chunk of my wild mane, and snip! Fifteen minutes have gone, and I'm finally done chopping my hair off. I can't help but laugh. My friend was right; this is painful, but I've survived my first big chop.
Not exactly what you thought when you first read the title, huh? Yeah, a bit dramatic. But in all seriousness, transitioning or how it's culturally known, going natural can be a very dramatic event in a black woman's life. It's an unforgettable first.
Just imagine going from the world of "sit still!" as your mother pulls and yanks your hair with a comb, tackling those kinky roots throughout your childhood, to a new world of "ooh" and "ahh" as your peers check out your permed, "relaxed" coils. You were empowered, not by who you've accepted yourself to be, but by the relaxing effect the perm has had on the world that has accepted you. Then some years later, learning for the first time that God made no mistakes when He molded you in the palm of His hands, you came back around and chopped your hair off.
Yes, you cut your hair in a way that hints you've been struck with amnesia. What else can explain why you would travel back in time to the tears drawn from not just the physical pain at the hands of the comb, but the emotional ones brought forth from the world teasing you?
Yup, an unforgettable first.
Can we focus on something for a brief moment?
You see, for many women who've done the big chop, it wasn't about cutting hair. Yes, it is a life-altering event that changes your life, but for many, it's accepting at its original state "natural" for the first time what's seen in the mirror:
Natural fine lines…
Natural flaws and all.
And for women of color in the year 2020, their definition of beautiful has led them to push laws that have stopped natural hair discrimination in schools and corporate America for the first time in history! Talk about life-altering!
Focusing our attention back to "our first time," we've all experienced life's firsts that serve as reminders of what we have and are capable of overcoming. From life's early lessons on loss (heartache from a breakup or getting fired at a job) to life's lessons on success (a 7-year-old riding a bicycle without the training wheels).
If we can be honest, our first time doing anything is only scary because we're entering into a place of uncertainty.
2020 has proven to be that and then some. From having to quarantine because of a pandemic to losing individuals whose platforms have paved the way for those who've followed their careers, we can all agree 2020 will go down in history as "the year." Hey, the new normal is dressing from the top-up (pajama bottoms) with a bit of makeup just to get on a Zoom call.
What a year!
And yet, proving to my point of our abilities to overcome, life is still distributing firsts, and we're all bravely taking it on.
For example, PRS Beauty, although launched for the first time this year, has been an idea brewing for the last seven years. For seven years, there only existed the idea of one-day creating beauty products that celebrated chocolate skin. What you see today, the products, the ingredients, and even the testimonials that prove that these items work—were nicely tucked off in the place of uncertainty—the place no one could yet see.
But still, in the middle of Covid 19 and the first black female vice president, PRS Beauty was born to collaborate, encourage, and serve the women and men who in their list of first, believe their black is beautiful.
Again, 2020 has been "the year." Like it was so popularly coined at the start of January, the year of vision, vision is still happening. And for many of us, like the moment I truly noticed my face after my big chop or the day a 7-year idea became a business, for better or for worse, our vision has become more clear.
As we draw near the holidays and the end of the year anticipating more first, here's three cheers!
Cheers to a girl's first time!
Cheers to a boy's first time!
Cheers to yours!
Are there any firsts that you've accomplished that reintroduced you to a version of yourself you weren't aware of?
What's your list of firsts looking like in the year 2020?
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