Monday, February 21, 2011

Invent Yourself or Be Invented

"Each of us has that right, that possibility, to invent ourselves daily.  If a person does not invent herself, she will be invented.  So, to be bodacious enough to invent ourselves is wise." ~Maya Angelou

When I watch documentaries showing the damage we often do to our hair through the use of chemicals, excessive heat, weaves, extensions, etc., I have to admit that I feel embarrassed.  If I hadn't experienced what I experienced growing up, I would look at those documentaries and think: "those women are crazy!" However, that used to be me.  I was at the shop every 6 weeks getting my touch up and enduring the scalp burns so the relaxer could stay on long enough to get my hair silky straight.  I've lost hair around my edges from having my braids too tight and I even had several microbraids come out by the roots for God knows what reason.  Never during that time, did I ever question why I put myself through that.  My tortuous hair maintenance routine was as normal as brushing my teeth and washing my face.  It was a necessity, not an option . . . so I thought.

Could it be that since I hadn't invented myself, I was invented?  Since I had no vision for myself, I went along with society's ideology of how I was supposed to look.  I used my peers, fashion magazines and celebrities as guides to determine what look was "hot" and I emulated those styles regardless of whether I truly liked the style or not.  

I think back to a pair of pants I had when I was a teen-ager.  I called them my Indonesian pants because they had a tag inside, which said "Made in Indonesia."  They were a rather odd pair of pants and it even took me some time to figure out how to put them on.  Regardless, I loved those pants, but I often felt strange wearing them because they didn't look like anything I saw anyone else wearing, so I would only wear them when I knew I would be staying close to home.  I guess at that time, I wasn't bodacious enough to invent myself and I felt embarrassed to go against the norm.  

Over the years, I've become more aware of how I've been influenced by others.  In the past, I've made decisions based off of what I was "supposed" to do, what was expected of me or what others wanted for me. Once I realized that, I began making a conscious effort to understand what it was that I truly want for myself.  If I had no other outside influence, what would I want to do?  Once I had the answer to that question, then I had the option of deciding whether I wanted input from others to help shape my point of view or if I wanted to make my decision without any outside influence. It's amazing that outside input can be so strong that it may be difficult to separate your thoughts from the thoughts you think are yours because they have been so deeply ingrained in you by the images you see and the conversations you have daily.  However, once you're able to identify and separate your thoughts from the thoughts of others, you are now empowered to know your true self and you're on the path of inventing yourself and what a wonderful feeling that is!! It's a happier life when you know who you are and you're being true to yourself and not trying to fit into a box someone designed for you.

I love that thought-provoking quote by Maya Angelou.  I also love that she mentions inventing ourselves daily.  Generally speaking, I think we are notorious for calling people "sell-outs" and thinking that we're at a higher level than someone else when we reach various stages of enlightenment.  How ridiculous is that?!  I am constantly evolving and growing and the person that I am today will change in the years to come.  I can't see ever wearing my hair straight again, but that's where I am right now.  Years ago, I couldn't imagine wearing my hair naturally, so who knows what the future may hold and how I may chose to invent myself in the future?  However, one thing I do know - everyone may not agree with how I have invented myself and how I will invent myself, but that's okay because now I'm b o d a c i o u s enough to be true to me

~Loving Me Naturally

Monday, February 7, 2011

Beautiful Black Women - Wear Your Crown of Glory

If I was not black and I had naturally curly hair, would you question whether my naturally curly hair would be appropriate for the workplace?  Would you question whether my hair texture would hinder my career?

If I was qualified for a job, but the company didn't want to hire me because of my hair texture, wouldn't I want to know this before accepting the job?  If so, why would I want to disguise my texture to get the job and then reveal my true identity afterwards?   Why would I fear showing them what God has creatively designed?

If I were any other ethnicity with naturally curly hair, would you assume that I was making a political statement for wearing my hair the way it naturally grows?  Would you assume that I was from some far away place or I'm intensely in touch with my roots?  

Would you ask me to alter my texture before I could be in your wedding?  
          Before I could attend your formal event?  
                    Before you introduce me to your family?
                              Before we go out on a date?

Beautiful black women wear a crown of glory.  There is nothing shameful about it.  It does not need to be explained, excused or hidden.  Any questions?

"Those that don't got it, can't show it.  Those that got it, can't hide it." ~Zora Neale Hurston

~Loving Me Naturally

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Could it be that the Comb is not for Me?

Cree Summer played Freddie Brooks
on A Different World
(90s Sitcom)

I used to love A Different World back in the day.  Remember the episode when Freddie was going to get a professional job and she was running from Jaleesa who was chasing her with a comb?  LOL!  Ha - Maybe Freddie was on to something!  I've decided to ditch my combs and let my fingers work their magic.  Since going natural, I've always had a problem with the comb.  Every twist and curve in our hair is a potential breaking point, so I had a hard time understanding how it was possible to detangle without damage.  I did what everyone recommended: drenched my hair with water, loaded it with conditioner and detangled with a wide tooth comb.  I even used the apple cider vinegar rinse to close the cuticles before combing.  I did not lose a lot of hair during the detangling process unless I was wearing an afro or some other tangling nightmare type of hairstyle, so I can't say that process didn't work.  However, I did have a lot of shed strands getting tied up with some of the other strands.  They would form a knot and I would have to cut them.  I didn't mind cutting them, but I was starting to get annoyed with the time it took to separate those two strands and find the place where the hair needed to be cut when there were so many of them.