When is it appropriate to advocate for yourself or something you believe in? From day to day, we have interactions with individuals who more times than none, have vastly different views than we do. In trying to keep the peace, some of us cower and beat ourselves up in private for not speaking up. And the rest of us refuse to tolerate anyone disrespecting us or our stance/beliefs.
My hair has been locked for a little over two and a half years. I think of where I started. It was really short in my opinion. It didn’t move. Some of them stuck out. Were unruly. So I hid it under a wig.
Presented myself as what I thought was pretty. When I felt comfortable enough, I wore it out. I was proud of my get up and go, so much so, I’d find ways to bring it up in conversation to try and convince others to do the same. I remember engaging in full on arguments about manageability and versatility.
A few months ago, I was on an outing with friends and acquaintances. In settings like these, there’s bound to be conversation. There’s bound to be disagreements. There’s bound to be what I hope is healthy discourse. There’s nine of us. Two join later and sit on the opposite end from where we are. One comes by our end. Conversation is easy but awkward at first. And then it happens. A statement is made about God. The newcomer asserts that she doesn’t believe in God. Tells us, that He’s a figment of our imagination.
That He’s the equivalent to Santa Claus. And a coping mechanism for the mentally ill.
Politics and religion are usually the topics to stay away from. My friends who are believers along with myself, wanted to hear this woman out. And we did. We listened without judgement.
I think of my hair like I do my spirituality. When in social settings, it’s my desire to advise what I think is best. And while, it is best for me, it’s not always the best for someone else. My hair like my spirituality speaks for itself. It’s in the way I conduct myself that garners interest and sparks conversations. I no longer feel the need to inundate others with rhetoric that comes across as abrasive or pompous.
I think that as a society we have to learn that our actions do most of the communicating for us. When we get caught up in trying to scream out our views, it all gets lost in translation and causes more division. I’m brought back to the conversation with the woman.
I think of how she was drawn to sit near us. Our light communicated something to her. And while we were aghast at her blatant disregard and disparaging remarks about our faith, I’d like to think that our reactions taught her about a peace that we only know through God.
I think to my reaction that evening; I remained stoic and open to hear her out. I imagine she was probably used to being shamed for her beliefs (because why else would she say such inflammatory things when she was unprovoked?)
In the same manner, when asked about my hair and the comments that follow about the lack of versatility or any negative remark that may follow, I simply smile.
Most folks don’t understand your position, especially when it’s light, joy, and a softness that this world doesn’t have enough of. We know aggression and anger too well. Some people in their trying to discover or uncover what your secret is, the response/reaction will come across as indignant. It will be an attack. It will be baseless statements to try and coax you out of the peace you have within yourself.
Know that your actions and how you carry yourself do most of the talking for you. You do not have to recruit anyone into your peace. You simply inspire by living, breathing, and exuding.