Wow, has it really been a year already?!?!?! It feels like only yesterday I was driving to LAX with the whole family, feeling nervous to the point of nausea, puffy eyed from all of the crying I had done at the house, in the car, and at the complete melt down at the sight of the departures sign. I swear, when I boarded that 15 1/2 hour Air Emirates flight to Chennai, India, I felt as though I had abandoned all that I knew, and had willingly flung myself off the cliff of everything known, and was viciously spiraling out of control down the rabbit hole of the unknown. All I could hope for at that initial moment of take off was that somehow, someway, on my tumultuous journey down this unknown descent, I would land on my feet, and the unknown path I was embarking on, would eventually bring me to nirvana; and man, were my hopes answered!
How do I begin to wrap up an entire year of growing, learning, falling down, getting back up, and never once getting sick of asking women, men, hair manufactures, cosmetologists, educators, salons, and even people on the street about Black women’s hair. This year, I have by far learned more about hair, and myself than I EVER thought possible. I have experienced the beauty of human connection, and the hurt of deceit, the pangs of homesickness and loneliness, and most of all, I have experienced LOVE and PASSION.
As I sit here, in my rented apartment in Santo Domingo, looking at my well traveled backpackers backpack, and tattered yellow carry-on bag, I am filled with such a rush and mix of emotions. Part of me is ready for the familiarity of home, the constant of my families daily routine, the smells, the tastes, and pace of the state, city, region, and domicile that I have been rooted to since birth. But, at the same time, the other part of me is not ready to give up this freedom of being everywhere and nowhere at the same time. The ability to fluidly enter new communities and cultures and insert myself, almost seamlessly, into the rhythm of my new locale has become addicting to my persona.I feel as though I am caught in a ruthless battle between reason and emotion, my head, and my hear. And this feeling of uncertainty is growing even more prolific with each character I type. How am I supposed to reenter a world in which I have been removed and estranged from for a year? How do I cope with a sedentary lifestyle when my constant and normal has been that of a nomad? And how do I put together all of the information that I have learned about hair? How do I portray each woman’s voice exactly as she wanted it? How can I recreate a years worth of emotions and lessons in a nicely packaged presentation that authentically portrays what my life has been like for a year?
I’m finding that the end of this year, has deceived my perception of returning to the States with a clarified life mission, and instead lead me deeper into the rabbits hole of the unknown. But while I am filled with more questions than answers, I have learned that the journey is much more important than the destination, and that it is okay to not know the answers. The key to everything is just to live your life. In fact, stepping outside of my comfort zone, and being forced to confront and interact with human beings day in and day out has led me to clarity, paradise, happiness and joy. Getting on that plane exactly one year ago today, I left the person who I was, and am now returning forever changed. All I can do it say thank you, to everyone, and everything that has brought me to this place now.
So while this is probably not the last blog post you’ll see from me, (since we all know how I can get delinquent about posting on the blog- teeheehee!) This is tata for now. So folks, next stop, Pasadena, CA! Only God (and that rabbit) know where my path will take me next!