I would like to share some reflections with you.

Yesterday, I decided to do a temporary new hair style and have my hair braided, 5 of them in total with gold thread and a little ring on the top.

hair style, braids

I was excited and happy.

When I was a teenager, and most of my life, I used to wear my hair loose and at one point I even used to put them in my face ( a little). I remember being uncomfortable with the way my nose looked, or have black head and that was a good solution to shift the attention and look stylee.

I would try not not put my hair up, and if I did I would always put one or two strand of hair loose on the front.

Around 15 years old, I had a revelation about myself, and I decided to be proud of my nose. It’s a little bigger than average and a little crooked and twisted.

Of course my father used to tell me I was beautiful, but he also use to tell me that ” O M G. this nose”, and maybe when you are 18 I’ll get you a nose job. It was a half joke, but not a nice one. He would add again, you are beautiful. ( PS: I m not mad at him at all…). I m just telling this detail to explain the rest of the story.

My grandma from Paris, used to tell me ” No nose would make a beautiful face look ugly”. She would tell me not to worry, yet my nose always made the topic of conversation, which did not help….

Anyhow…. I was Ok, growing and being myself and starting to become a woman and it was ok. Teenage is the time when you start dating, choosing more and more for yourself etc

So to go back to my story. When I was 15, I was friend with a guy in my class. Everything was fine, when I realized that he wanted more, that he had feelings for me that I did not share. At one point the friendship could not just stay, he wanted more and I clearly declined, which caused to end that friendship from his side. What a pity, and yet thank you very much. For many reasons. He was so offended that I did not want to become his girlfriend, that he started to be mean with me, in anyway possible, to the point that he started to tease me on my nose, saying that I had an ugly nose etc.

When I say thank you very much, I mean it, as this was a clic in my head and in my life. I started wondering, how is it possible that a boy who wanted me to become his girlfriend, who told me that I looked beautiful and pretty more than once, started to hit my “weak self esteem point”, and tried to make me feel bad about myself.

The moral of the story is : I dont remember the name of this boy anymore. But from this moment on, I suddenly realized that my “beauty” ( or felling or being beautiful) did not depend of my nose, of too many kg (pounds) of my style, of other people finding me beautiful or anything like that. I decided to love my nose, to feel proud that it was as it is and just to own my face and myself.

Just for the story, my nose remains sometimes an amusing topic of comments, one time I came along with my husband to a general doctor in Luxembourg, it happens that he was also a plastic surgeon ( had no idea about that), and the first thing he said, was “Hi so you come for your nose”, my husband and I laughed and we said no. Then in NYC a mom of my daughter s class who is a super nice woman and a plastic surgeon, told me that she would be happy to receive me to “refine my nose”. I replied, thank you no thank you ! and in my head I said “WHAT !”

Of course as everyone else I have my down moment, I feel I am too fat, not enough this or that, but come on, we all have these moments and it’s ok.

If someone needs to modify their appearance to feel better, I respect it, but I try to teach my kids to like themself how they are. Doesn’t mean you don’t need to do some effort for ex. not eat pizza everyday and gain unnecessary 20 kg (40 pounds ). ( This is an extreme example of course ( a little joke) and my remark is general).

Anyhow to go back to my new hairstyle and freedom.

So yesterday, I decided to try this new hairstyle as I happened to be waiting at the hairdresser for something else and one of the hairstylist was wearing 6 braids and she also had time.

I was excited and happy, and that meant My face would be the first thing you see as all my hair were pulled back. Still a bit challenging. But why not try.

I had not foreseen what this will bring, negative comments, positive comments…. anyhow comments. I did this for myself, and as I am very busy working on my next exhibition, I though It would also be handy as I tend to pull my hair up when I work anyway. Yet, this brought me more than expected.

It reminded me that people are used to standards norms and when you decide to let yourself even do a new hair style, it impacts the way people look at you. I hate that feeling. It made me think of freedom. How freedom has so many layers.

Freedom as the basic fact of being free, having the right to decide for yourself, vote, decide for your life, and for women the right to do an abortion if necessary. Very controversial I know, but I had to mention it, I believe that no women of very few would do an abortion with a light heart, it is a hard decision to take ( and I feel privileged and lucky I never had to decide upon it) but it needs to remain a free right.

It is many other things, freedom to choose you job, the person you are going to spend your life with, to never marry or never have children, to drive by yourself and so many other things.

Freedom is also freedom to dress how you want, to style your hair how you like, to do what you want as long as it doesn’t trespass the right of others.

Well, freedom is not simple even in the 21st century.

I was again reflecting on my hairstyle and realizing that if I had a meeting at a bank or an administrative meeting, I should maybe remove the braids as I would lose credit ! And I am not happy of even having to think that it could be detrimental.

Even the freedom to write this post, and share my thoughts … How much thoughts can come from a new hairstyle ! crazy…

In some circles you need to dress the way other do, to pass, or be admitted in the group. IS THAT FREEDOM, I dont think so and I ld rather not be with narrow minded people. And maybe I am wrong, maybe no one would care, well unfortunately I don’t think so. Religion, sexual orientation and any other way of being will/ can impact your life in positive and negative.

But should we not be ourself, just to not attract comments, just to blend in and have no reaction. I mean if you wish to “blend in” because it is how you are, this is fine. And I hope no one takes this comment the wrong way, I am not saying that if you don’t chose to do something different you are not interesting. absolutely not. EVERYONE IS INTERESTING And everyone has they own uniqueness, it doesn’t always needs to be visible. It could be an interest loving to read, play role, dance, write, garden, cook, take care of your family, playing soccer, not all is visible to the eye.

Bottom line I reminded me that “Just be” is a layer of freedom that is not always easy to protect and honor.

When I was a teen I read 1984 from George Orwell, Oh how I hated this book… but it is a good reminder of how Freedom needs to be protected, all layers of it.

Thank you for taking the time to read, feel free to share your thought.

I have the secret though that if you are a teen or at any stage of you life, and you dislike something about yourself, you’ll be kinder with yourself and that it will remind you that you are beautiful.

xoxo @hopeje

PS: So far the comments on my hair style were mainly positive, not fishing for compliments, as I did it for myself first…. just funny… how whatever you do will attract positive or negative compliments, and you know what it’s ok to share what we think…in the end it super positif as people speak and communicate and it should be like that we should remember to say hi and smile and share discussion with people in real life.

PPS : recently I saw a video on Instagram on Refinery 29, about a girl who had a nose job as she wanted to fit more in resembling more to her mom and sister and whole family. Her nose was the only one “bigger”. She did change it and it made her so happy finally herself. I respect her, and I am happy for her. She embraced herself in her “imperfections” before taking the decision. Anyway whatever your decision is, embracing yourself is key to any good decision.

It also made me realize I should owe my nose even more and take photo from my bad profile, not only ” the good” which is why I just posted the video, you saw above. Because I think if you can learn to love yourself with your differences, it’s very cool. And I hope more will to.

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2 comments on “What is Freedom ?

  1. Anonymous

    You speak to my heart. Very relatable! You are beautiful and brave!

    • Thank you for your kind words, If I speak to your heart you must be beautiful to. Thank you again

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