“HaitianGirlRun” by Marie Lissain

HaitianGirlRun by Marie Lissain A wise comedian once said, "Self Esteem is esteem of your self!" And I truly believed I had self esteem - that is - until I decided to go natural in 2009! Talk about a rollercoaster of emotions - hiding under winter hats in the summer as I transitioned, carrying a piece of toilet paper in my hand just in case my coconut oil began to trickle down the side of my face, and damn near overdosing on Biotin to speed up the process of growing out this hair I hadn't seen in 12 years. There is nothing that makes you stronger than being able to face the world with something on your head the entire world thinks is ugly, bad, nappy, rough, kinky!And it's much easier facing strangers with what I affectionately termed "beef patty meat" sprouting from underneath "rat tails!" But imagine your own Haitian family telling you, "You can't go to work like that!" Or, "m'ap payew pou al fe tet ou" (I'll pay you to go do your hair!)Yes, indeed, Self Esteem is what I found being natural! And, pretty soon it became clear to me, that the easiest thing to do being natural was run! So, I ran and ran and ran - increasing my mileage everyday! Didn't matter if I sweated this hair out. Matter of fact, my kinks seems to love the sweat. And, not only did my own family think I was crazy for going natural, they thought I was 'enragee' (certifiable) for running long distances!

And as my hair began to grow into a full fro, I decided to show them what little Marie with Big Hair could do. I ran my first Half Marathon on October 11, 2010 in Staten Island, along with my fellow natural sister, Tomika. Step by step we showed the world that not only do black girls run, they run together, and they run with confidence. And, afterwards, they don't run and hide for fear of what their hair looks like. They pull off the pony tail holder and shake that 'beef patty' like it's never been shaken before! This year, I'll be shaking my 'fro through 5 boroughs in the ING New York City Marathon for...(cough, hard swallow) about 26.2 miles! But I do it for a cause bigger than my own natural hair evolution. I am raising much needed funds to find a cure for various types of blood cancers as a member of The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's, Team in Training!It's in being natural that I've learned the true definition of Self Esteem - being able to thrive in life and health, while loving every part of your body, and texture of hair, you've been blessed to have!Follow me on: http://twitter.com/#!/HaitianGirlRun Donate at: http://pages.teamintraining.org/nyc/nyc11/mlissain#My-Fundraising-Page

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