Saturday, July 10, 2010

Why I Went "Natural"... Part 2

Before I continue onwards to Part 2 of "Why I Went Natural"... I want to add something to my blog posts, something called "Un-Roast". I stole the idea from the blog, Eat The Damn Cake,
interestingly enough, she herself stole the idea from another blogger! Thus continuing the awesome recycling of previous information (all the while mentioning the originator of course!). Anyway, the author of Eat The Damn Cake explains the purpose of the "Un-Roast" in greater detail:

"So, because I’m ambitious but not incredibly ambitious, I assigned myself the task of un-roasting. Of taking time to consciously identify something I like about myself every day. So far, it’s mostly been physical stuff, because the mean voice is more consistently critical of my physical appearance, but some of you have contributed un-roasts about other aspects of yourselves, and I like that idea. I think I’m going to start expanding my own un-roasts, too. It sounds so simple it’s almost pointless. So you say you like something about yourself everyday. You can do that anyway, when you look in the mirror. But the thing is, sometimes it’s just better to write it down. To have proof of it. I want to have a record of all the things I love about myself..."

I think I'm going to take up this concept of "Un-Roast", and I wholeheartedly agree with the ideas expressed above. Sometimes I believe that Western society has put so many of us in a constant state of self-criticism; to such an extent that we forget our exemplary qualities. I do not want to forget mine.

Why I Went "Natural"....

It was my junior year of high school when I decided finally to go "Natural". I was tired of damaging my hair and conforming to what others said I was supposed to be. I was changing physically, mentally, emotionally; I started formulating what my true "beliefs" were, and cutting my hair so short until there was barely any left on my head was one of the outward expressions of this change.

Of course, not everyone saw this as my personal growth. There were naysayers who found my decision "radical", possibly of the unavoidable displays of teenage angst. I was met with interesting stares from my classmates and my teachers. There were plenty of people who were shocked and who questioned my decision, but since I had developed amazing acting ability in CONFIDENCE (outside I seemed like the most outgoing, confident girl you would ever meet, inside was a different story), I would receive comments like, "You WOULD go and cut your hair all off, you're the only black girl I know who would do that" or "You've always been so bold!".

I scoffed at these comments. My actions weren't extraordinary. I was just sick and tired of the cycle. I was ready to be the person I wanted to be. What was so bold about that?

And then there were the peers who were amazed and confused at seeing black hair in it's virgin state. The comments of these peers were the ones that stung the most. Blacks and whites partook in the over-examination of my hair and I absolutely hated it. One boy in a class asked me, "Can you wash black hair, I mean it can't get wet can it? The water just beads up and falls off, right?" Others tried to stick pencils or pieces of paper in my fro. What's worse is that when I would wear head wraps, they would call them head socks and try to snatch my wraps off my head.

The most unfortunate of it all was that I played along. Instead of correcting their false assumptions and stopping their actions, I pretended not be be hurt. I took what they did as innocence and I would reciprocate with a smile, a laugh, and a shrug. In reality however, I saw my attempts at "finding myself" unraveling. Suddenly, I was an oddity, somebody who was completely different. It was tough, and writing this post makes me realize my mixed emotions. However, I am happy to have conquered and completed those years and I pleased to know that I will never go back.

My natural hair has presented me with several challenges. There are some days where I think I look absolutely atrocious, and others when I think I wonderfully represent my African beauty. I supposed we all have to face daily contradictions. But my reason for being natural came from a place set arcanely in my heart. This place told me that I was an impostor. The young woman with relaxed hair, American Eagle t-shirts, Aeropostale jeans (I know! I can't believe I wore that either), and a big smile that others viewed was not the real me. It was the complacent me. I completely understand that there are all things that we humans have to conform to, it is a necessity, but I wanted to be as comfortable as possible in the body in which I was born and grew in. To reach this goal, going "natural" was a step that seemed unquestionable.

I hope I didn't bore you. It was quite uncomfortable writing all this, and hope the over-emphasis on my personal experiences does not scream narcissism. Wait! What am I talking about? This entire blog is vainglorious. But I think I am at a point in my life where this is acceptable, after all, the process of finding yourself is continuous. Right?

That is all.

Today I love my cheek-bones! I love the way they shape my face and they way they reflect sunlight. They are identifiers of my West-African blood, and I think they are beautiful. :P

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