When I was younger, hair was a little bit of an issue. I was your average, cutie-pie little black girl, wearing with pride, the little individual plaits Mummy used to spend hours doing. I remember my self esteem rocketed as a primary school kiddie, when my hair was freshly done, the partings still new and crisp. It was okay when it was loose and in a pony-tail but tiny little individual braids were in my eyes, beautiful. They moved when the wind blew, and I could flick them around, I could have a fringe over my eyes. It was almost like having... everyone else's hair. Therein lies the problem. In fashion, difference is encouraged, not as much as it should be don't get me wrong, but encouraged all the same. With hair, if it isn't long and flowing, or short and spiky, loosely curled, or your 70's afro to add comic value to a social group, it isn't beautiful. I went through most of senior school, thinking my hair was crusty, dreading school photos and mourning over the fact that I couldn't have beautiful hair unless I relaxed it. When I was super miserable, I even assumed that I couldn't get a boyfriend because my hair was "nappy"(Turns out it makes no difference; I added 16 inches of hair to my head and still, no sign of a man).
Then one day I had an epiphany whilst washing my hair.
I was in my Mum's house at that time and I was maybe half way through Year 12 perhaps a little further along. I had just rinsed the shampoo out of my hair and applied a random conditioner meant to detangle, smooth and soften my hair and I noticed for the first time in 16/17 years that my hair had a defined curl pattern. I was in awe; it was beautiful. It bounced. My hair journey started then and I have not looked back. I went to London with my Mum and began the hunt for the products that would help me keep that curl pattern I had found, all day! People were unhelpful in the salons that I went to, so I got online, and found people facing the same dilemma as me; heck! some ladies had made a business out of it! I discovered hairstyles that I could try at home, which led me to my now infamous Frohawk, liked by some, and not much liked by others. I discovered I could wear a weave (also liked by some and not by others), wear wigs (loved by a few but generally hated by many), have my hair short one day, and 20 inches long the next day. It's been liberating.
So I would say that this year, I aim to appreciate all kinds of beautiful, because there is no set text on what is attractive in a physical sense so I refuse to limit myself. I have learnt very clearly, the importance of beauty from within. A cliche I know, but if I am focused on being beautiful from the inside out, I can make it so it is the substance within me that defines who I am and not my hairstyle, my makeup, or my fashion sense.
"I am not my hair,
I am not this skin,
I am not your expectations, no.
I am not my hair,
I am not this skin,
I AM the soul that lives within."
Hugs and Kisses