“It’s okay to let go of those who couldn’t love you. Those who didn’t know how to. Those who failed to even try. It’s okay to outgrow them, because that means you filled the empty space in you with self-love instead. You’re outgrowing them because you’re growing into you. And that’s more than okay, that’s something to celebrate.” ~Angelica Moone
“How could you do this to me? It’s obvious you’re with someone else.”
That was the third and final message I received from my partner of nearly three years, several weeks after we had finally decided to break up. I say “we” because initially it seemed that the decision was mutual, although it would later be revealed that it was me who wanted out.
He was right, by the way. I had left him for someone else.
No, not the lover that he had conjured up for me in his own mind. In fact, what had pulled me away was much more powerful and seductive than that. I had cheated on him with my higher self. And she had been trying to win me over for quite some time.
My higher self: AKA my intuition, AKA my inner badass that will never be ignored. Yep, she’s the one I had left him for.
Much like when I was nearing the end of my marriage, she had started off with a gentle nudge, a tap on the shoulder every now and again. I’ve noticed throughout my life that if I don’t stop what I’m doing, these attempts to get my attention will become more consistent, until what was once a whisper finally becomes a roar.
Such was the case three years ago when she decided that I should shave my head. At that point, I had invested a lot of money turning my naturally dark brown hair into a platinum blond mane. This was before the pandemic, when I couldn’t imagine anything coming between me and my monthly visits to the salon.
As with most suggestions that come from my higher self, my ego was not impressed.
If the two of them had been sitting across from one another, the conversation would have gone something like . .
“You want to do whaaaat??”
“Take it all off.”
“All of it?”
“All. Of. It.”
So I attempted a compromise by shaving a bit off the side. I knew I was kidding myself when I thought that would be the end, but at least it was a start. Over the course of the next twelve months, I felt equal parts admiration and jealousy whenever I caught a glimpse of someone with a shaved head. This peculiar mix was familiar to me, and it signaled what was destined to happen next.
When I had finally made the decision, it was a random Tuesday morning, and it made absolutely no sense to my logical mind. Unlike the ego that thrives on being booked and busy, the higher self loves white space. When we give ourselves the opportunity to tune out and tune in, our deepest desires have a funny way of being revealed.
That fateful day I had decided to take an extra long walk with my dog through one of the parks here in Barcelona. There’s nothing like nature, movement, and a bit of solitude to help you cut through the noise and get to the heart of what you really want. Instead of returning to my apartment, we headed to the salon.
As I took a seat at my hairdresser’s station and looked at myself in the mirror, my ego had a full-blown tantrum while my higher self popped open the proverbial champagne.
In those moments of feeling the clippers pass over my scalp, watching my shoulder-length hair fall to the floor, I finally felt free. Whether it’s our hair, our jobs, or a relationship we’ve long outgrown, the higher self seeks our liberation, no matter what the cost.
That day when I told my then partner what I had done, the conversation didn’t go as I had hoped but exactly like I had imagined.
While this was indeed a fact, the tone made it feel like a personal attack. He asked me why someone so beautiful would intentionally make herself so ugly. For once in my life, being “pretty” hadn’t been the deciding factor. I wasn’t so concerned with how I wanted to look but rather how I wanted to feel. As I’ve come to learn since, life really changes when this perspective starts to shift.
If his thoughts and feelings were any indication, I was no longer much to look at when it came to the male gaze. Ironically, all he could see was “a weirdo” while the person I saw with my own eyes was a queen.
While my ex couldn’t get past my shaved head, I couldn’t get over the luminosity and the brilliance that could fully shine through. As he continued to fixate on what I had lost, I knew the truth of what I had gained: freedom, courage, and beauty on my own terms.
Perhaps I always knew that he would leave me over a haircut. No one likes to think that the future of their relationship comes down to the length of their hair, but he had told me from the beginning that shaving my head was the one thing I should never do. Funny the rules we’ll follow in an attempt to belong to other people while we strategically abandon ourselves.
I had spent nearly four decades of my life searching for safety in the fulfillment of everyone’s expectations. I used to be an expert at figuring out what they wanted and becoming exactly that. Until one cold, cloudy morning in February 2021, when I decided I was done. Done with the pretending. Done with the pleasing. Done with the denial of what I knew to be true.
I was finally ready for a different kind of love. And this time it was all my own.
You could say that I cheated on my ex with my higher self, or maybe she was the one I was meant for all along. Either way, I’ve chosen to be faithful to my inner wisdom. And from what I can tell, we’re still going strong.
About Jolinda Johnson
Jolinda Johnson (M.S.Ed., CHHC) is an award-winning Certified Life Coach and Holistic Health Coach who specializes in burnout and perimenopause. She’s originally from Detroit, Michigan but has made her home as a single mother for the last fourteen years in Barcelona, Spain. Follow her on Instagram at www.instagram.com/coachjolinda or visit her online at www.jolindajohnson.com.