Getting My Hair Wet in 2016

I loved going to the pool when I was younger. My friends and I would meet up and walk through the locker rooms together, speed-walking to the chairs with the most shade and the best view of the sparkling water. I always liked to cannon-ball right into the pool – it helped me get used to the cold temperature of the water more quickly and start the fun right away.

My friends, on the other hand, would slowly wade into the water, putting their hair in ponytails and buns to avoid getting their hair wet at any cost. I never understood it – why do they care so much about getting their hair wet? I loved how it felt to dunk my head underwater on a hot day and glide across the pool as my hair floated around me. It made me feel like a beautiful mermaid queen, claiming the chlorinated body of water as my own. I felt powerful and free and happy. It never seemed very fun to have to worry about your hair on a hot summer day.

Last year, I read a post from Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls about a “get your hair wet” activity. They wrote, “As the new year unfolds, we have countless opportunities to get our hair wet! It’s time for us all to try new things, make messes, go outside, give back, break habits, be kind, and face our fears.” The idea was to decorate some sort of jar, and then every time that you do something new or something that is out of your comfort zone, each time you “got your hair wet,” you would write it down on a strip of paper and put it inside the jar.

Me in my costume preparing to go onstage in the Vagina Monologues

Me preparing for the Vagina Monologues

I am the kind of person who likes to stay in my comfort zone as often as possible, so when I read this article I decided that this year I would try my best to break out of that habit, try new things, and face my fears. While the process has been slow, I have taken some strides in the right direction. I traveled to Peru for 5 weeks this past winter by myself. I faced my fear of heights after taking multiple plane rides this year and zip-lining through the Amazon – something I NEVER in my life thought I would be brave enough to do. My family actually didn’t believe me when I told them about it! I auditioned for and performed in the Vagina Monologues in front of hundreds of people. I tried yoga and realized that I really liked it. I opened up more to friends, something that really does scare me, and it paid off in the form of stronger, more meaningful relationships. My jar is not necessarily filled to the top with strips of paper, but I am able to look back at and reflect on the strips that I have written and look forward to the many more to come.

Me walking across a canopy bridge up in the trees of the Amazon

Walking through the trees of the Amazon

So I invite you all to get your hair wet this year. Do the things that scare you, the things that make you uncomfortable. Try something new, meet someone new, look at something from a new perspective. However you choose to get your hair wet, I hope that you enjoy it and learn from it. Now, go cannon-ball into that pool! Go dump a big bucket of water all over your head! I promise you, it feels great.

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