DAY 23 – Trusting Yourself Not To Drown


31 Days of Radical Self-Expression.

When my youngest daughter, Sage-Niambi, was a toddler, she panicked whenever I washed her hair. She would wail, flail her arms about, and her breathing consisted of short gasps, followed by loud swallowing sounds. No matter how I positioned her, or myself, and no matter how much I tried to reassure her that she was safe, the reaction continued.

Until it stopped.

One day, I think around her 6th birthday, she just stopped. She just stood there, and let me wash her hair. When I would stand in front of her in the shower, I would stare at her face in amazement as the water sprinkled down on her head. The only thing that gave me any indication of anxiety or discomfort was the series of wrinkles around her tightly shut eyes. Outside of that, she was eerily calm in comparison to the years of scream-and-fight I came to expect when her hair needed washing.

What happened was that Sage-Niambi eventually grew to trust that she was safe. She would not drown, and she would not die. So she squeezed her eyes shut, steadied her little self, and let the process happen. Nowadays, she does the scrubbing of her shoulder-length locs, and only needs me there to make sure she gets all the conditioner out. Her eyes are no longer squeezed shut, and she not only accepts the process, she controls it.

See what she did there?

She learned how to close her eyes without squeezing them out of fear of infiltration of water.

She knows not to hold her head all the way up because water would then get into her nostrils.

She learned to trust that she had resources (primarily her mother, in that moment) that were working in her favor, to protect her as she went through the process.

Whatever we face also has to face us.  It’s okay to be afraid, just don’t make your fear the focal point.  Be a formidable opponent for your obstacles and watch them get smaller. Then obsolete.