My relationship with God started when I cut my hair
"My relationship with God did not start in a church. It started in my apartment when I cut my hair."
Briana Whiteside never thought cutting her hair would lead to a religious epiphany.
Whiteside had chemically-straightened, shoulder-length hair and wanted to 'go natural'. She was looking forward to the liberating feeling she'd heard other women speak about experiencing.
But after impulsively cutting her hair so it was only two inches long, she felt traumatized.
"For the first time, I felt the wind on my scalp which was very terrifying for me."
Whiteside fell into a downward spiral of emotions.
"I felt that I had made the biggest mistake of my life. I wanted to basically put the strands up and put them back on my head, if that were possible," says Whiteside. "I literally felt like I was mourning my hair."
Whiteside embarked on an intense period of self-reflection and began to realize how much of her own self-worth had been tied up in her appearance.
As she gradually learned to accept herself, she turned to prayer and came away with a closer relationship with God and a new understanding of what love truly is.
"I can't say that I knew God for myself until I cut my hair off. And it might sound very strange to say that, but generally when I think of my spiritual journey, I think about my confrontation with God. And it happened as a result of me having to confront myself about being insecure."
Briana Whiteside is a doctoral student at the University of Alabama and a writer for Huffington Post.
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