There is one thing that has stuck with me since attending therapy – the importance of small moments of happiness, small moments of joy. One of my favorite quotes is:
Happiness is a mood not a destination. – One Tree Hill
Generally, people equate happiness with a specific destination. For instance, when I finish my thesis, I’ll be happy. Once I get that job, I’ll be happy. When I’m making 100K, I’ll be happy. Happiness is usually a specific idea of what we can or will accomplish in the future. The issue with looking at happiness as a destination is that we get lost in the journey. We become so focused on the goal/idea that life passes us by – an uphill hike to discover what will bring us joy.
It’s important to remember that life and happiness is a mood. It is something that everyone can feel if they allow themselves too. Happiness is a state of mind, a fleeting and temporary emotion. Nonetheless, it’s an emotion that we all crave and yearn to feel. Create opportunities for happiness, instead of picturing happiness as a destination.
Making myself happy is one of the most thoughtful things I can do for myself. I can remember my therapist asking “What brings you joy?” The first thing that popped into my head was “French Vanillas.” To this day, that answer remains true. When I’m having a bad day, I march down to Tim Horton’s and buy myself a medium French Vanilla, and it instantly puts a smile on my face. As does a lunch date with a good friend, reading a book, journaling, and watching a good tv-show. Find your small moment of happiness, appreciate them and incorporate them into your life where you can.
One of my coworkers of color came up to me and said, “I love that you are wearing a headscarf.” This brings me life. I’m so happy!
Since I’ve started working at my current job, I’ve been wearing wigs. Honestly, it was easier to wear wigs in the beginning because I was still getting accustomed to the 9-5 adult lifestyle. After I was adjusted it just seemed easier to wear a wig instead of doing my natural hair.
If we haven’t guessed, I am a black female. I have 4C hair, which essentially means I have tightly coiled hair. It’s very hard to see my curl pattern unless I define it in some way, ie. twist, braids, etc. The other thing about my hair is that I shaved it. Well, not ALL of it, but most of it. I shaved off the sides and the back of my hair. However, in May I decided I was going to grow it back. Point is, right now, my hair isn’t that long. Probably 3 or 4 inches around the sides and back. But it is long enough to catch, and do styles.
So recently, I decided to take the plunge and do my natural hair. My coworkers have been asking to see my natural hair for a while, but I wasn’t sure what I would do with it. Last weekend, I was supposed to go out with my partner (they canceled), and I wanted to do something different, a twist out, which means twist my hair in two strand twist, undo the twist and leave it out – kinda like a curly afro. However, because I was no longer going out and I didn’t want all my time and effort to go to waste. I wore the twist out to work.
I must say, I was extremely nervous. There is such a misconception in the workforce that black natural hair is unkempt or unprofessional. In reality, it takes black females a lot of time to do our hair. Personally, it took about two hours to wash, condition, twist, and un-twist my hair. Even with all that time and effort, and the added bonus that I was looking mighty fine, I was still worried that my boss or coworkers would think that I looked unprofessional. How fucked up is that? Even in 2018, I worry about if wearing my natural hair would affect the way that others see me. Lucky for me, I was welcomed with compliments and commendations. I felt accepted, which means my natural hair will be making more appearances at work.
The reality for a lot of black females is – natural hair can be a liability to one’s job. Wearing black natural hair in the workforce can be seen as an act of defiance against the white-collar work industry. The hair that literally grows out of my hair is an act of resistance and boldness. In spite of that, this is not why I decided to wear my natural hair. I wore it because I wanted to get over my fear. I wanted to get over the unspoken rule “wigs, weaves and straight hair for the interview, and natural hair once you’re in the door.” I shouldn’t feel obligated to change my hairstyle for the fear that my qualifications will be overlooked by my afro. I am remorseful and ashamed to know that I have done it in the past. Changed the way I looked – not for fun or because I can – but because I really wanted a job.
As the years go by, says the twenty-three-year-old, I want to present my truth. I want to be the truest form of myself. It seems as if accepting my natural hair in all of its glory is the first step of many steps.
Okay, so maybe the title of this post is a little much. Very hyperbolic, but I really DO have a dream. I’ve been toying with the idea of making a scholarship for international students for quite so time. However, I’m not sure how to go about it. There is so much to consider. Funding. Donations. Deadlines. I really have no idea where or how to begin.
It’s one of those cases where you know you have so much to do, but no idea where to start. So instead of starting, you let yourself become overwhelmed. Again that word – overwhelmed – shows up.
Despite my static state, this is something that I want too and will accomplish within the next few months. If anyone has any ideas or suggestions, I am all ears. I will welcome any help I can get.
Happiness is a mood, not a destination.