Short stories,

I am NOT my hair. I am NOT your expectation. I AM who God says i am.

December 11, 2012 Ezer Kenegdo 0 Comments


I could hardly contain myself. I’d actually passed the test?! I still couldn’t believe it. I was sure- no, I was certain I’d flunked it. I literally screamed into the phone when i called my best friend of 20years to break the news.

“I got it! I got it! I got it! I go....”

“Hello to you too young lady”

I giggled nervously as I waited for her to ask the million dollar question.

“So what did we get madam?”

“Avinu just called me! I have an interview in a few days”

“Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh my God! Are you serious? But I thought you said...”

 “Yeah I thought I flunked it too, but I guess I didn’t. I could hardly believe it when the HR chic called me, I was tempted to tell her she made a mistake”

“Hmmmm”

“What?”

“Nothing. You really have to prep for the interview”

“I know. I’m gonna spend the next few days doing research and...”

“That’s not what I mean”

“oh?”

“Babe this is one of the most coveted positions of our generation Avinu is not one of the - but THE most desirable employer. You can’t afford to be anything less than what they expect. Apparently they have an ‘unwritten’ spec of the people they hire.”

“Hmmm”

“I was talking to Valerie from research, you remember her right? Anyway she said that her cousin applied 3years ago but didn’t get in because she didn’t meet their specs. Anyway, I’ll come over after work today and we’ll talk”

As I entered Avinu’s candidate waiting area I could tell that everyone else had gotten the ‘unwritten spec’ memo. I could even have sworn that I saw at least 3 other girls wearing outfits identical to mine. There was however one lady who stood out, she looked like ‘me a few days ago’. She had on an outfit similar to what I would probably have worn to this interview if Nnenna hadn’t intervened. I was still musing over her outfit when I got called for my ‘face to face’.

I could tell from the rapport I had with the head of the department that it went brilliantly. So imagine my shock when I got the ‘we are sorry email’. I really thought the job was mine. Even though it wasn’t popular practice and I fully expected to get brushed off, I went out on a limb and called the HR Rep, I was surprised that she agreed to speak to me. What she told me shocked me. Even though I was the most qualified in terms of education and work experience out of all the candidates they’d interviewed, I didn’t have the image they were looking for. They wanted someone ‘different’- the lady she thought I was during my telephone interview, not the member of the ‘unwritten spec’ posy she met during the ‘face to face’. I whispered a barely audible thank you as she advised me to apply again in 3years.

*****************


In May 2008 I cut my hair and went natural. I loved it! It felt like me. Which thinking about it now is strange because all through secondary school even though I had natural hair, I yearned for the relaxed tresses everyone else had- because that was the generally accepted perception of cool and sexy.

I didn’t face any opposition to my choice to go natural until I moved to Nigeria in 2010. I wasn’t surprised that there was opposition, what shocked me was its intensity. At a point it became a constant flow of rejection and criticism. A few people actually asked me if I was ‘SU’, others implied I wouldn’t find a husband as long as my hair was natural. I began to dread trips to the saloon because it meant I’d either have to endure people talking behind my back about the state of my hair or I’d receive a lecture about why I should relax it. I finally gave in to all the pressure in July 2010 and relaxed it. Since then I’ve harboured secret thoughts of going natural again.

A few months ago I saw pictures of the friend who started the natural hair journey with me and WOW! Is all I can say. Her hair looked wonderful, and I couldn’t help but think that would have been me too if I hadn’t succumbed to the pressure of changing to suit other peoples idea of how I should look.

So in August of this year, I cut my hair again. The criticism is back, if anything it’s worse than before. However, I’m not the same person I was in 2010. I’ve realised that a lot of those who try to shove their opinion down my throat actually believe they are doing it for my own good. They really do not have any ill intention. To them a woman’s glory is her nicely relaxed hair and her beauty is found in her made up face. This may be true for some people (and that’s ok for them), but it isn’t true for me.

There have been those who want me more extroverted while some think I’m too in your face.  Some want me to lose weight; others want me to gain some. It goes a lot further than my hair, or even my appearance. Everyone has an opinion, but at the end of the day it’s only Gods opinion that counts.






Imagine you buy a DVD player that in your opinion is identical to that of a close friend, only to get home and find out that it doesn’t play any of your DVDs. You call your friend, because well he has an identical one. Your friend advices you to do all sorts of things that don’t work. You try all the advice you find on Google. Still nothing works. After about 2 weeks you decide to check the operator’s manual and you find out that this particular DVD player was manufactured to play only Indonesian DVDs. When you tell your friend this, he gives you the contact details of a technician that can ‘fix’ it. You call the technician. He ‘fixes’ it. But the DVD player stops working within 7months. You call the technician again, who informs you there is nothing he can do as it’s the side effect of ‘fixing’. He says if you’d contacted the manufacturer initially they would have been able to help you and you wouldn’t have to buy a new one, like you have to do now.

Something similar happened to a friend of mine and got me thinking that as humans this is how we generally behave. We decide people/ things should be a certain way and try to hammer them into the mould we have carved out. We don’t ask God- the manufacturer what His intentions are for them or for ourselves. Usually due to the fear of rejection by others we try to conform to their blueprint of who they think we should be. The danger with that is we find it difficult to fulfil the purpose God intended for us. Like the young lady in the story who followed the well meaning intentioned advice of her friend and changed her appearance from who she was to who she thought the company wanted, and ended up having to wait 3years for another chance. A lot of times people give advice with the very best of intentions, but good intentions don’t mean God intentions. What God says about you should ALWAYs trump what everyone else says about you. It’s who God says you are that you are.

I remember a sermon I heard in which the Pastor was talking about how different he is from his brother. They are both Pastors but he is by far less out spoken and introverted than his brother- they are almost opposite both in appearance and personality. Yet are both doing fantastically well in their various ministries. There is no one size fits all coat that says to be successful in a chosen field you need to be like everyone else in that field.

We need to be who God made us to be and stop trying to be someone else. The first step to fulfilling your purpose is to know and be comfortable with who God says you are- regardless of what the crowd says. Only God can give you the image of who He has called you to be.


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