This was originally published on my first blogsite back in 2013…still rings true…
So many of you ladies stop me, to talk about hair, I thought it would be worth an entry. In 2001, I decided to see what my hair really looked like, what it would do….without chemicals. Though I believed I was making an outward change, what I heard in my heart, transformed me on the inside; you are far more beautiful than you imagine. These words are for my sisters who have gotten so busy with living, working and caring for others that you haven’t taken time to consider how stunning you are from the crown of your mane to the soles of your feet. And, mammas, older sisters, girlfriends, aunties, and grandmas– it’s crucial that we take the time to look at our ‘selves’ because we are the mirrors for our next generation of women.
God sent us into creation with the gift of hair that He thought was perfect for us. And we disagree with Him, vehemently, by beating it down with heat, chemicals, sew-ins and glue; we hide it underneath wigs long, wigs short, wigs blonde, wigs curly, human and synthetic. We refuse to possess what is already authentically ours, in favor of buying what the world says we should be. It’s like being given a beautifully wrapped gift, with an unusual ribbon, for your birthday and never bothering to open it because the ribbon looks too strange…so the box sits there, untouched, and you ask for a gift card instead, so you can buy what doesn’t look strange… to you.
When I was a girl of sixteen, after what felt like years of pleading, my mother allowed me to get a perm. Then, for the next sixteen years, the girl embraced what was “acceptable” and popular and not strange. That’s appropriate behavior for a teenager….not for a grown woman. When I finally decided to see what I looked like without bone straight, over-my-shoulder-length tresses, it was scary because I didn’t know what I’d do without a relaxer; and that in-between phase doesn’t feel cute when you’re moving your way up the Hollywood career ladder. Now this is where I meet a lot of you in your journeys; you’ve stopped the chemicals, but you don’t know what to do next, and because it starts looking crazy, you give up your vision of seeing what’s underneath the mask of perm, weave or whatever…you give up the idea of opening the gift.
It’s worth repeating that we are the mirrors to the little ones that are grasping for womanhood. Our daughters are learning what they feel about themselves, from us. Without words, we are teaching them whether they should believe they are lovely, or wonder if they are. When they see us covering our God given hair with hair we bought in a box or a bag at the beauty supply store, they are learning that what belongs to them, naturally, isn’t acceptable or beautiful.
I am truly excited when I see a woman rockin’ her natural. I smile real big on the inside. Something in my soul just leans in to hear what she might say. I know….that’s probably just me, but it’s true.
Please don’t think I am challenging style and creative preference, here. Perhaps you have fully explored what your hair is like as an adult, and decided that it’s gorgeous, but doesn’t flow with your lifestyle. Maybe you want to shave your hair into a Mohawk, or color it fuchsia or platinum blonde—that’s a matter of style. If you feel like bumping your natural with the straightening comb for that special night out, that too, is a matter of style—it’s like changing your nail color or wearing a new dress. While in the beauty aisle of the supermarket one day, seeing a child model on a relaxer box, my nine year old daughter said, “That’s a pretty hairstyle…. as long as she knows she was pretty already.” And if you are one of my gorgeous sisters who’s lost plugs of hair due to tremendous stress, alopecia or chemotherapy, choosing to wear a wig is a matter of style and maybe even a way to keep your wits about you when your world is unraveling.
I’m challenging those of you who haven’t taken a look at your hair in a long while, to open your eyes. You might love what you see. I’m challenging us to stop rejecting our ‘selves’ for something manufactured. And I’m really gettin’ in your face if you’ve been thinking about doing it but you’re afraid [that was me]. Oh, and get support.…. the transition is easier with a friend who’s gone natural-even if she’s just on the phone a million miles away telling you, “It’s gon’ work out, girl!”
For all those who struggle to see themselves as they really are:
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