Confessions of a Naturalista
While sitting and watching Black Girls Rock and loving all of the beauty in black, I felt the need to confess. In 1986 I was a first grade student at Hardy Elementary School, and I can remember being bullied for having big lips and believe it or not, long hair. Yes, I was picked on for having long natural ponytails. At the time I didn't understand why I was hated for my long ponytails, especially when the person who picked on me the most had hair that was just as long as mine.
Because of the bullying that I experienced in elementary school, I suffered throughout life to embrace my natural beauty. I hated my big lips, and chose to not accentuate them with bright or bold lip colors. In high school I cut all of my hair off, and chose to wear a short cut for several years after. While being bullied, I was told that I thought that I was "better than everyone else". This really resonated with me, and caused me to not want to be hated, hence the reason why I cut my hair. I was truly suffering, and I had no idea of the ailment.
In hindsight, I realize that my childhood as well as many others was rooted in self-hate. I am no different than women that I speak to from day-to-day. There are many women out here who are not comfortable with their natural hair, their natural curls, and/or their natural face without make-up. Society and lessons of the past, has many of us uncomfortable with our natural beauty. We have been told that our skin is not beautiful, and neither is our hair. We have been encouraged to relax and color our tresses, or even keep our natural tresses covered with wigs or under weaves.
To my advantage, when I was attempting to not think that I was "better than anyone else" and wearing very short hair, it became fashionable and I embraced the look. It was a lot easier for me to embrace my true beauty because society said that it was okay to, plus I had no hair to hide behind. In the process of wearing my hair short, although processed, I began to embrace my natural curls that would push through. This made it very easy for me to transition. After transitioning from processed to natural, I took my journey a step further.
Five years after I reclaimed my natural beautiful self, I decided that it was time to loc my curls. This step was even more of a struggle for me. I was use to my curls being in place and kempt. I knew that there were different stages of the loc process, one being the "awkward" stage. This is when your hair is starting to loc, for which you will experience lots of fuzzes and frizziness. I knew that the journey was going to be more than just a change in my hair, but a spiritual journey within myself. The year of awkwardness, helped me to embrace my natural beauty even more. I am more in love with my natural self, than I have ever been!
Through my work, it is my goal to help ladies to embrace and to be comfortable with the curls that grow from their scalp, and the skin that they are in. I will continue to encourage women to recognize that natural beauty is power, which stands to be a threat to society. Again, the reason is why they encourage us not to embrace it. This can be noticed in the number of caucasian women who spend thousands of dollars to look like us, whether it is to plump their lips, get butt implants or simple have one of us to cornrow their hair. They recognize the strength in our curls, our curves, our melanin and even our men (that is another blog to be written). So with that said, beautiful black Sistas, it is time for you to recognize your strength and don't let the kryptonite of society to steal wealth or your shine!