Wednesday, July 13, 2011

TRANSITION

Transition, both good and bad, is inevitable, an unavoidable part of our lives.  Oftentimes, one transition leads to a whole series of transitions, which can bring about a variety of emotions and thoughts, often shaping our lives, in one aspect or another. 

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the definition of transition is “passage from one state, stage, subject, or place to another; a movement, development, or evolution from one form, stage, or style to another”, or more simply put, “CHANGE.”

Having made a recent transition, relocating from one region of the country (Midwest) to another (South), I have found myself in a whirlwind of transitions (before, during, and after the move).  Unlike my transition to natural hair, the “during” part of this transition was the easiest…just pack up the moving truck and go!

On the contrary, as many of us naturalistas can attest, particularly those who are right in the midst of transitioning, the “during” phase of transitioning to natural hair is often accompanied by some hair drama…well…my transition was.

Transition, particularly voluntary transitions, can make us question ourselves.  But we must believe, that somehow, with God directing our steps, it’ll all work out for our good…and for the good of others whose lives we touch.

The transition of relocating from one state to another has brought about other transitions, adjustments/adaptations for me…a different climate, different environment/surroundings, different people, different demographics, different living conditions.  Not only was it a physical transition, but it was (and continues to be) a time of spiritual, social, emotional, financial, and professional transition for me…not to mention the impact on other people in my life, who have been directly affected by and/or have had to make adjustments, as a result of my transition.

Even though my hair is already natural, since relocating, I’m also experiencing a hair transition…from having a natural hair stylist and a colorist doing my hair on a regular basis to doing it all myself, in addition to my hair having to adjust to a more humid climate…shrinkage!  I'm a native Southerner, but when I left the South many years ago, shrinkage wasn't really an issue for me, because I was hooked on that "creamy crack" (relaxer) back then.

You may wonder what relocating from one state to another has to do with the natural hair journey.  Well, just as relocation involves transition (passage from one place to another; movement; change), bringing about big change in life, so does making the transition (evolution from one form, stage, or style to another) from chemically-processed hair to natural hair.

Although the “before” and “after” phases of my natural hair journey weren’t as difficult as the actual “in between”/transition period itself, they were, by no means, easy.  “Pre-transition”, there was a lot of “hemming” and “hawing” about whether and when to go natural.  There were a lot of questions in my mind…How long will it take to grow out my perm?  Will I have to get all my hair cut off?  What will my natural texture look like?  What will others think about it?  Will I be able to get another job with natural hair?  Will men find me attractive with natural hair?

Unfortunately, unless you do “The Big Chop” (B.C.), the transition from chemically-relaxed hair to natural hair can be a lonnnngggggggg and/or difficult process (unless you’re really creative...and patient), not just physically, but emotionally, socially, mentally, spiritually, and financially.  Even after the B.C., the transition from the “Teeny Weeny Afro” (TWA) to longer natural hair, can be quite the experience itself…well...mine was.

In hindsight, just doing the B.C. from the beginning (instead of putting it off and continuing to go through all the hair drama…partially relaxed, partially pressed, partially natural, all at the same time), woulda killed all that noise.  It would’ve been better for me to just “chop it off & roll wit’ it”!  But like other life transitions, sometimes, we need to go through the longer journey.  We may only see the outward transformation, or drama, but all the while, God is working out a plan, working out some things within us (and out of us)…something much deeper than just growing out of a perm or moving to another state.  In the end, we realize that the transition was necessary, to get us to the other side, to the next phase, to a victorious outcome!

Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”  Another version of the Bible says, “For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord.  They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” (NLT)

We’re down here on Earth agonizing over our hair, relocating, jobs, relationships, the future, the past, etc., and God is up in Heaven probably saying, “Oh, my child, my child…if you only knew the things I have in store for you.  If you only knew the doors this transition will open up for you!  Be patient (steadfast, unmovable, consistent, constant)!”  In other words, “Stop trippin’!”  (I’m preachin’ to myself, if anybody, as I write this.)

Isaiah 40:28 says of God, “…There is no searching of His understanding.”  Other versions of the Bible state that “…No one can measure the depths of His understanding” (NLT) and “…He knows everything, inside and out” (MSG).  Wow!  What an awesome God!

Whether we’re making transitions with our hair, jobs, geographic locations, relationship/marital status, parenthood, finances, our spiritual lives, etc., we all go through transitions.  But it’s up to us to develop and maintain the right attitude about it and just trust God.  Our times are in God’s hands.  We must pray and allow God to guide us through the necessary steps to get “to the other side”.

When we do Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own.  Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; He’s the one who will keep you on track” (MSG), we can avoid many of the obstacles and the DRAMA that often comes with transition.

Many of our transitional periods could be shorter and less painful, if we just TRUST HIM and BELIEVE!  Jesus said in Mark 9:23, “…all things are possible to him who believes” and in Mark 10:27, “…with God all things are possible.”

THE BOTTOM LINE:  as you make your transition to natural hair or to the next phase of your natural hair journey (or whatever transition you may be experiencing), BELIEVE for better results!  BELIEVE for a smooth transition!  BELIEVE for a great outcome!


(Contains excerpts from "TranZitions: Revelations on My Journey to Natural Hair and Freedom" by Yolanda T. Jones)