I AM NOT MY HAIR #opesays

Published:17 Aug, 2012

Gabby Douglas

Yes and I mean that literally. I am not my hair. All my life, my hair has been one part of my body I’m not proud of. Growing up, I realized that my hair was not as long as my friends’ or as shiny, silky or smooth. That brown unusual colour of it didn’t help matters. It made me so self-conscious .You can still see me in my childhood pictures touching my hair self-consciously (I still do it till this day). The weird texture of it didn’t help matters. My hair is that type of hair that gets hair stylists curious. It’s as soft as cotton wool and sometimes as hard as cement. No relaxer ever fully relaxes it. It’s as full as a thick forest yet refuses to grow long.

All my hair needs for a handful of it to come off , is just a simple comb. Few of my friends or family members have seen my real hair. It has always been drowned in weaves, attachments, dye…you name it.  Just like my hair, most of us have this part of our body that we are self-conscious about. It may be your face, your ‘assets’, your height, your weight, your arms or legs. The media doesn’t even help matters. They have filled our minds with their own idea of what beauty should be. The media even dictates what you should weigh. You know that size zero, stick-thin model image they have fed us with, those abs like all the sexy guys on TV.

Most human beings, including you and I ,have some of our self-esteem hung on up how we look. We forget that we actually didn’t create ourselves and we need not burden ourselves with worry, about what we can’t change. After all , who’ll remember if you were beautiful when you lie in your coffin ? You’ll be free the day you realize that your body is just a cloak you’ve donned to complete your earthly assignment. Once you cross the veil between life and death, it loses its usefulness, so you discard it.  Now it is true that people , the world over love beauty, especially men. We would even readily carry a cute baby, before the not-so-cute one.  The singer, Adele comes to mind. When she was told to lose weight, she said, “I don’t make music for eyes, I make music for ears”. Her reply was that of someone who knew what they had to offer, and didn’t let the world’s view of their body interfere with that.

What can you do when a part of your body does not conform to the world’s rigid standards ? First play to your strengths. Realize what you do have and know for a fact that someone out there will love you for it. After all not all of us can be Beyonce and not all of us can be tall, dark and handsome. For instance,  I am personally not  crazy about tall men. Secondly, if you still feel self-conscious about that not-so-good part, do something about it , if you can. Go on that diet, start exercising, use skin products, to make it better.

When the world realizes you have something to offer, they forget how you look. I love Adele till tomorrow and I’ll continue to listen to her music even if she grows fatter. If you have something the world desperately needs, how you look doesn’t factor into the equation anymore, except you’re a model. The gymnast who shined for America at the just concluded Olympics, Gabby Douglas , isn’t the prettiest of girls; but she has what America needs. I can say for a fact that if Beyonce wasn’t as beautiful or as sexy, she’ll still be one of the best performers in the world. It’s simple, she knows her art and has polished it to perfection.

Next time someone tries to bring you down because of that not-so-good part of your physical appearance, tell them “I am not my hair” (Fill in your own).Yeah , that’s right. You are more than your face, your height, your lack of ‘assets’ or your weight. You’re a spirit being, a higher power. The very essence of greatness. You are here for a reason and that purpose is more than your physical appearance. Go touch your world .


Opemipo Adebanjo

@opesays on Twitter.

This is a weekly column that runs every Friday. It is called #opesays. Join me to talk about issues that matter from motivation to love to politics to religion to life itself.

  • http://www.ike-amadi.com/blog @ikeamadi

    Good piece.

    Much more defines you!…not just your hair!

  • http://gusblogger.wordpress.com/ Aghogho Sam

    True , good essay. However , I must disagree a little , Physical Apperance will always be an important factor in judging ones’s character. I cannot see your inside or “essence” , thus, the only way I can make an accurate guess of what you have within you is what I can ONLY see outside, your outward appearance, “out of the abundance of the heart a man speaks” likewise “out of the abundance of the heart, a person dresses (hair styles included). The way you look outwardly is unwittingly part of your inner essence.
    Nevertheless, great read.

  • http://drerhumu.blogspot.com/ Dr Erhumu

    I think the important thing is how one feels on the inside, that is why confident ugly men get very good looking wives (I won’t give examples).

    Also, remember the sons of Jesse in the bible. Only David had kingly material on the inside.

  • http://twitter.com/princedavidokon @princedavidokon

    Ope,this is really the missing link in our assesment of ourselves.Talent stands you out in the midst of people,think about Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder,okay they are Americans but what about our own Cobhams Asuquo.A single thread that connects them all is that they’re all blind but are global celebrities by virtue of the depth of musical talents they’ve deployed in building careers that have projected them into ICONS for the WORLD and particularly Youths.Go and take your world. @princedavidokon says so.

  • Seye

    Not much to say again, you’ve done justice to this topic. Anything I may add will just lengthen the already concise piece. Bless

  • http://honourlaja-motivationforsuccess.blogspot.com Ademola Onalaja

    Beauty like they say is in the eye if the beholder. There are always two kinds of problem in lfe; d one you can’t do anything about and d one you can do sth about. Nobody can make us feel less about ourselves without our permission. If you don’t appreciate yourself in totality, don’t expect others to appreciate you in totality. There’s a big difference betw you and everybody…be proud of that…cos there’s no one in the world that is exactly like you(looks, behaviour and talents)…flaunt what u’ve got.

  • http://honourlaja-motivationforsuccess.blogspot.com Ademola Onalaja

    Beauty, like they say is in the eye if the beholder. There are always two kinds of problem in lfe; d one you can’t do anything about and d one you can do sth about. Nobody can make us feel less about ourselves without our permission. If you don’t appreciate yourself in totality, don’t expect others to appreciate you in totality. There’s a big difference betw you and everybody…be proud of that…cos there’s no one in the world that is exactly like you(looks, behaviour and talents)…flaunt what u’ve got.

  • Pingback: I AM NOT MY HAIR #opesays | OPE SAYS()

  • ibrahim Amina Ilamosi

    God bless you Ope for this piece….. Nothing else to say…

  • http://wwww.zebbook.wordpress.com zebbook

    What if Gabby Douglas and/or Adele were to enter for Miss World Contest?
    What if Michael Jackson had taken to boxing and Muhammed Ali to music?

    The philosopher calls it the sixth toe. That lil something in our body put there by nature to remind us of the imperfection of our humanity the moments we start to think of ourselves as gods. We all have it; the gain of those who recognise theirs early and play to their strengths, the bane of those who get fixated on becoming someolne else to the point of misery.

    Nobody is perfect, at least body-wise.

    Justice done to the subject, good piece. Thumbs up.

  • http://www.omojuwa.com Opesays

    Thank you Bukky.I couldn’t have concluded the article in a better way than you have. I agree totally.Those imperfections are there to remind us that we are not gods.We are human

  • http://weecnigeria.blogspot.com WeeC

    As usually @opesays has put together something on one of the most inspirational teenagers in the world. The message is key and straight forward identify ur strengths and build on them. Regards darling!

  • Olukoga Mosun

    Any who needs my PHYSICAL APPEARANCE to judge my ‘essence’ is just not someone I want around me for the long haul. I am who God made me and says I am! Period!

  • http://nsisongeffiong.com Nsisong Effiong

    we all have our imperfections and they begin to matter when we have not developed our self worth.

    We are ‘wonderfully’ made in HIS image.
    Barriers, constraints, deficiencies cease to matter when we believe in ourselves and understand our purpose in life.

    Great piece Ope! As always

  • Cynthia

    You are right onthis one ope.a lot of folks have a lot of hang ups on how they look or should look when all that’s really important is How one sees one’s self on the inside.this article will help a lot of people out there still struggling with their physical looks and inner insecurities.We all Have Our Strengths and Should Develop it.

  • http://www.lightherlamp.com Jennifer Abayowa

    Very true article. I liked the way you wrote it. The only thing I’d add is that some people tend to take this ‘I am not my hair’ phrase to the extreme. The fact that we were all born with differences does not mean we should not take care of those differences. A big person might make a claim like, “I am naturally big, why exercise.” However, this person is forgetting the fact that the way we appear is a mix of both genetics and our environment/choices (e.g exercising is a choice made by people who want to be healthy, it’s choice not affected by genetics). Being thick-boned is different from being fat, and people need to know the difference. Ps: I love my natural hair and I flaunt it. Haven’t used relaxers since 2008. :)

  • http://futurekidsfoundation.org Pearl

    you dont have to conform, conformism is dictatorship, there are no absolute in the ways we must,may, or might look, this media spurned standard is a marketing tool actively directed towards people who have inherent low self esteem, just be different and be yourself.

  • Jamjam

    Nice write up, Ope. I have always been tall and willowy when growing up and used to pray to God not to add an inch more! Big mistake (thank God that prayr was not answered). Now I work in the midst of guys and have more subordinates than supervisors. Having it tough enough with my stature, not to imagine if I were ‘pocket sized’ or even ‘average’. Lesson: a seeming hang-up that I now use to my advantage! I love me, whichever way. Everyone should! Peace.

  • maky

    True talk Ope. “I am not my hair”.

  • http://www.madekreations.com made

    long long time ago, i used to be intimidated about my looks and imperfections but as i grew older and found more purpose than my physical looks i almost ignore my looks but also we should learn to embrace ourselves. its the most important factor in having people want OR embrace us. be M’ADE

  • Koffy

    Beauty is in the eye of its beholder. I say this because Gabby Douglas is pretty to me. That said, great article. If we want others to love us, we should love ourselves first. I’d say the confidence with which one carries himself can give an illusion of beauty. Confidence is the new sexy! This scripture helps me “Give me d serenity to accept d things I cnt change, strength to change the ones I can and wisdom to know d difference”.

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