Monday, February 21, 2011
Invent Yourself or Be Invented
Posted by ChitownGirl
"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
at 7:32 AM