I have always liked things that are a bit different, and felt as though I was born a decade too late and should have been a teenage flower child during the 60s. I wish I could have been at Woodstock. I would have loved to have a Combi van painted up with peace signs and rainbows. I am a hippy.
I have vivid memories of sitting in my darkened bedroom peaking out of the window in the mid 1970’s when I was about 9 years of age across to the neighbours lounge room, and just watching them for as long as I could get away with it.
Our neighbours were a group of hippies living commune style. The women were mainly topless, they burnt incense, smoked marijuana, grew their own vegetables and one of them even had a kid – on her own! I still remember her name – Cokey. I loved them. I wanted to be one of them. When I walked through their front door the smell of incense instantly made me feel like I was home, even though my family didn’t burn incense. I have always said that I am sure this is my first life as a Westerner. I have never really felt like one and everything that I love is very non-Western.
When I was about 11 my girlfriend Judy, introduced me to the wonderful music of Bob Marley. I loved everything about him, the music, the culture and especially the dreads. Right then I wanted to have some, but never thought that it could actually happen.
Around the age of 14-15 I wanted to get my nose pierced and decided that when I was 18 I would get a tattoo. I didn’t do either of these things – until much later. It wasn’t necessarily socially acceptable then and I never could have imagined working in the real world with a nose ring!
Life went on and I did all of the normal things that we do. I worked, had babies, and bought houses, travelled and so on. At one time I took a different career path which meant that I needed to wear a suit and make up every day, as I thought it would be nice to have a change. Every single morning as I dressed for work, I felt as if I was putting a clown suit on, I felt so inauthentic and I absolutely hated it. I lasted 6 weeks. I had to leave when my body became riddled with psoriasis and I realised that because I wasn’t listening to my heart, my body was sending me very clear messages.
When I was in my early 30’s I started to wish I had done some of the things I had always wanted to do, I had pressure from external sources not to do these things, but I did them anyway. I started small with some unusual cartilage piercings in my ears, then eventually when I was 32 I got the nose piercing I had always wanted. I loved it – I really loved it. Others close to me hated it and made it very clear how much they hated it. I didn’t care one bit. I made a decision that when I turned 40 I was going to finally get my long awaited tattoo. I did it. Others close to me HATED it, I mean really hated it. I didn’t care. As I began to do more things that made me happy, and some of these were just these surface things, I noticed a shift in myself. I was being true to myself and I loved it and others hated it – fascinating!
Eventually the time came for me to make some really big changes, which came very easily as it was right. I stepped into living and being the true essence of myself. I love it. I got a few more tattoos and started expressing myself how I wanted to. I have never looked back.
Last year I started my own business in my continuing journey of being my authentic self and I love sharing this with others. One of my favourite things to do is to help people step into a passionate and free life, whatever that looks like for them.
I also deliver corporate training in government, private and non profit organisations. I changed my nose piercing over from a stud to a ring when we were on holidays earlier this year and considered changing it back when I went back to work. I decided to leave it – it made no difference. My training is just as good, people enjoy it just as much – awesome!
A few months back I decided it was time to finally get my beloved dreadlocks. I had them for a while when I lived in Ghana but took them out when we came home. Yesterday I did it again. I thought about whether I would be perceived differently and whether it would have an effect on my business – for about 30 seconds.
How I wear my hair doesn’t change my message or who I am. How I wear my hair is an expression of my freedom – to me anyway.
Everyone has the right to be free.
I am free. I will always be free.