Friendships can be hard to maintain. My thirty-three years on the planet have imparted a limited, yet I don’t think insignificant, view on how friendships change. What I know for sure is that, like any relationship, they require upkeep.
I have a new man in my life. His name is Dominic. He is gentle, humorous, wise, eloquent and loving. We have been spending a lot of time together during the past five weeks and our appreciation and love for each other is deepening. Dominic is ninety-three years old.
For years, my hair had been my nemesis—more foe than friend. Being called names such as curly, bush, and frizzy, it’s no wonder I had identity issues. While the girls in school had long, flowing locks, my tresses grew sideways instead of down, causing me to try any and all options to gain control. And so began my use of a litany of products from Dippity-Do, large curlers, and pink tape, to jumbo brushes, blow dryers, and flat irons.
When my mother tells stories about me from when I was young, she often highlights the fact that I never wanted to play with baby dolls. I never willingly pretended to be a mother. I liked stuffed animals. Theywould be my children, and I would brush them and care for them rather than baby dolls.
Ten months ago, I stood in front of the mirror and called my body “beautiful.” For the first time in years, I did not criticize my appearance. I did not disparage my physical features. I admired every curve, every scar, every tensed muscle. I discovered strength cloaked behind weakness -- a powerful, invisible strength I have carried with me for my entire life.