Here's me feeling sexy with my new 'do and Juju, the black cat.
Big thanks to Adriana, my sister midwife and hairdresser extraordinaire, for helping me step into 2021 a whole lot lighter. Though perhaps it wasn't the most sensical choice given we are moving into the coldest time of the year in my new, not-so-tropical home. But then sexy is rarely sensical...nothing that a fashionable scarf can't fix!
About three years ago I cut my hair under very different circumstances.
It was a new moon, solar eclipse in August of 2017, nearly a year into my postpartum depression. Being someone who is ritual/ceremony oriented, I designed a hair cutting ritual to try and release the darkness that seemed to envelope me.
I gathered an intimate group of sisters, found the perfect spot in the Enchanted Forest of North Miami and created a labyrinth. As we gathered and smudged with sage, each sister entered and took her place within the labyrinth, with Adriana at the center. She would tidy everything up so I looked "pretty" in the end.
I invited each sister to cut a piece of my hair as I walked by them in my labyrinthine path to the center. As they cut my hair they spoke aloud things that they wished to release from their own lives--as what's personal is also collective.
I knew that the things they wished to release were not different to what I was shedding--the patriarchy, the perfectionism, the comparison, the shame, the grief, and on and on.
In this way it was not just about my own personal purging but became a communal release. And when we do transformational work together it is far more powerful than anything we can do alone.
As I walked past the first sister, Jamarah, she took a BIG snip and my heart dropped.
I had planned for a drastic change from my typical long hair but I had expected folks to be a bit more timid, knowing Adriana would do what needed to be done when I arrived at the center.
But Jamarah, bless her, is not one to be timid and her action invited everyone else to be bold as well.
It was an act of bravery to bare my soul and be witnessed by these sisters.
And to invite them to cut off a part of me. And while it didn't "cut out the shadow" --because the shadow is an inseparable part of us--it was an initiation that would continue to provide me with strength as I embarked into what unfolded as a 3-year process of dancing, fighting, surrendering to, and embracing the shadow.
It was a commitment to allow myself to be held, witnessed, and supported by my village. And though I struggled with this over the years that followed, each time that I have allowed myself to be seen in my mess by people I trust, and to stretch myself even further to receive their love and support, I have opened.
Each time I have strengthened. Each time I have unfolded into a better and truer version of me.
We need our village just as much to raise ourselves as to raise our children.
The pandemic has been a master at showing us what isn't working. Rugged individualism. The Supermom syndrome. Nuclear families.
None of these things are working for us.
These forces have instead lead us to an epidemic of #mommyguilt and #mommyshame. We need a new model. A new map. I am officially declaring 2021 The Year of the Mother and I am committed to co-creating a new vision, a new culture for motherhood.
One that allows us to be vulnerable and ask for support. One that honors who we are Being as much as what we are Doing. One that allows to include ourselves in our circle of care and nourish our own dreams with as much care and attention as we give to our own children.
Join me in February for Map for a New Motherhood Virtual Summit where we will hear from brilliant mothers, leaders, and pioneers of this new maternal archetype--MotherFly.
The summit has been a vision of mine for a few years now and it is finally happening! As we continue to dismantle old dysfunctional systems and imagine new ones what more potent time to rebirth motherhood. I am thrilled to have speakers from all of the U.S., Morocco, Australia, Guatemala, and more who will be sharing their wisdom and stories in the #mothertongue. Save your spot here.