Bodunrin Afolabi: I Cut My Hair & Learned These Lessons

Cut it!

These words flew out of my mouth as I spoke to my stylist on the 2nd of February. After five years of planning, contemplating, making decisions, ‘bracing up’ and crying (now I wonder why I waited for five years to do this), I finally got myself to sit still and allow for greatness.

This year, I promised myself to do everything that scares me and be afraid afterwards. My mantra for the year: Do it and be scared after.

Scissors met hair and off it went.

I called on my father: “Dear Lord, I am your daughter and I know you love me, you can’t let me down. Please, don’t let this be a wrong decision. Don’t let me look like a tomboy. Don’t let me be ugly after all these. O Lord.” I spoke in tongues (you would wonder if it was a life and death situation).

One look in the mirror and I loved it. I was ecstatic at the result, and my stylist wasn’t even done yet. There was no point to the fear or the prayers, no point to the waiting, planning or scheming.

This life changing decision has taught me some things that I’d love to share.

Just do it
I never really understood the importance of the phrase “Just do it,” or the power associated with it. Cutting the hair may not be considered a big deal for some people, but for me who spent five years thinking about it, planning and strategising, it was. I’m in love with my short hair now and how sophisticated I look, even when I under dress. I have always been a writer but never have I thought my articles were worth publishing until “short hair.” I decided to “just do it.” I sent my articles to some blogs and websites, and voila, you are reading this.

I have always wanted to help young girls in various areas, but never really knew how or where to start from until “short hair” happened. I decided to #JustDoIt, and started the SistersHive Initiative. We have a WhatsApp group where we have speakers speak to young girls and help them through their various problems. We also organise trainings. Although a small community now, it’s a start in the right direction.

The most important lesson “short hair” taught me is #JustDoIt. We often feel a certain fear because of uncertainties: What if it doesn’t work out? What if I fail? What if I don’t get my desired results? These questions stop us from attaining greatness, from being the best we can be.

What is that thing you’ve been planning and scheming to do for years? #JustDoIt today. Do it and be scared after.

What you don’t work for, you don’t get
Anyone with short hair can testify to this. The beauty and the pain of short hair is that you don’t always have to go to the salon, but you do have to wake up every other day to straighten your hair (if you hair is like mine, you have to wake every day to put a bit of heat). This rigorous and tiring process has taught me the hard way that there’s no magic or short-cut to having what you want. If you want to look good or want your hair to be on point, you have to put in the work of styling and heating. If you want success, burn the late night candles. If you want financial freedom, cut down the excesses.

Mistakes happen, be good with that
Well, this is me two months after cutting the hair, and writing the first draft for this article. I miss my texturised long hair sometimes. I won’t lie and say the short hair journey has been very rosy, but I have learned that it is okay to change your mind, to experiment, to make mistakes, to try and fail or try and not like something. Don’t focus on the error done; decide to make lemonades from the lemons you created

It is easy for men to change their perception or affection in a split second, why is it hard for we women to do same? We get stuck thinking we can’t just decide this isn’t working and move on, or look for alternative ways to making it better.

We need to begin to socialise ourselves to believe that mistakes are inevitable. That way, we don’t limit what we can be or do. Experiment, fail, have a good laugh and then start over with something else.

Look inside to find you
Some days I can’t be bothered to curl, tong or straighten the hair, as the stress of life hits. This has taught me to draw confidence from within, to profess greatness even when I look like Amadioha’s servant. I have learned confidence and self-belief, that regardless of what I look like, I am beautiful, smart, intelligence, diligent and confident. Therefore, confidence doesn’t come from the clothes, the shoes, the bags, the cars or my hair, although they are all good things to have. It should be built from within, the belief in what you are, the fact that you are worthy and have value to deliver.

These are the lessons I have learned from transitioning to short hair. It has been a rollercoaster ride of joy, happiness, confusion, anger, regrets and hard work.

Ladies with short hair, what is one life lesson short hair has taught you? Share in the comments below. Share your experiences so I know I’m not alone.

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