Embracing the Highs and Lows of Life

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People say that you can never truly appreciate the good days without experiencing the bad. This implies that a cycle of highs and lows is a natural part of life. Well, that doesn’t sit well with people like me who have lived life in moderation and enjoy the predictability that comes with it. In order to offset the variability of life, I simply plan. A friend once told me, “Tanisha, you love a plan”. Truer words have never been spoken. The reason I love a plan is because it allows me to mentally prepare for all of the likely scenarios. If I can visualize the worst case scenario and create a plan to mitigate it, then I feel like I have reduced the chances of it happening, hence avoiding the “lows”.

Well recently, my planning theory blew up in my face. The culprit is my hair. Two weeks ago I did the big chop and cut all my hair off.  I had been growing out my relaxer since June and thought I would take the slow and steady path to transitioning by keeping my hair long. This was all a part of my “plan” until I woke up and decided I was sick of it and wanted to cut it off. That same day I called and made an appointment for the next day. I knew that if I didn’t do it soon, I would chicken out. It was time to shake things up.

I had no intention of blogging about this experience, but taking this step has sent my into an unpredictability spiral. It has knocked me out of my comfort zone and has challenged all of my assumptions about the value of the highs and lows of life.  Here is what my hair has taught me so far.

#1. You are not in control.

I have no control over what my hair looks like on a daily basis. I have given up the assumption that planning and consistency will deliver stellar results each day. WRONG.  My never looks the same each day even if I use the same products and steps. Granted I am experimenting with different products and techniques to see which work the best.  At its best, my hair is curly all over, shiny and full. At its worst, it is a lopsided frizzy afro with a mix of curls, waves and straight ends.  It hasn’t been long enough for me to figure out what causes it to go from one extreme to the other. Until that time, I’ve decided to learn from the lesson my hair is teaching me about life: Give up control. Surrender to the process. Learn to embrace the bad days, which will allow for a greater appreciation for the good days.

Yesterday was a bad day. I couldn’t get my hair to do anything I wanted it to do. I kept applying more and more product, which only made it worse. It was so bad, that I considered getting back in the shower to re-wet it, but didn’t have time. Work was calling and I needed to go. So I just went with it; going about my day with my head high and shoulders back. I did cringe every time I went to the bathroom and caught a glimpse of my buck wild hair in the mirror, but that didn’t affect my confidence. I just shrugged and said, “today is not a great hair day and you get to try again tomorrow.”

Today is an exceptional day! My hair looks the best that it has since I cut it off two weeks ago. I woke up this morning determined not to have a repeat of yesterday. So I went back to the products that worked for me the first couple of days after my cut. It worked! My hair looks great and I am relishing the high. I appreciate it so much more because of the low from yesterday.

This is one small metaphor for life, but my hair has taught me that there is time for a plan, and there is time to just go with the flow. You cannot anticipate which will bring highs or lows, but you can open your arms wide and embrace whatever comes your way. Regardless of what it is, you are equipped to handle it.

THEY SAID IT BETTER…

Check out this Ted talk from Brene Brown on the power of vulnerability and how you cannot selectively number emotion. Good stuff!

Brene Brown: The Power of Vulnerability

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© 2016 · Tanisha Drummer Parrish: Life Under Innovation