The Natural vs Nurture

Remember that post a while back about how we still need to do something to our hair and that being natural is not an excuse to just not do anything at all?

I’d like to modify my comments. While I strongly believe that one should refrain from being out in the world appearing that they have completely run out of “cares” to give; there’s a thin line between staying polished and being obsessive. I’ve had the privilege to be a part of quite a few fun and interesting natural hair groups and one thing that I notice is that many have not embraced the freedom.

 

As a former “Processed Princess” (something else I learned in one of the groups) I can remember a time that I could not leave the house without full accessories. I looked like an old school internet chat room avatar when I left the house. Even if I had on a hat, I had earrings and a flashy belt that made the look come together so I thought. I projected a load of insecurity which in turn attracted the wrong crowd of people and for a while I didn’t have a firm grasp on who I was without all of the junk on me.

 

How much of that comes from early childhood?

I am in no way bashing or putting down any of the women in my family, let’s be very clear. However, leaving the house for even the most simple trip was an ordeal everywhere I ever stayed. There were creams followed by lotions, combined with scents and topped with powders and lightly mist with sprays. Anything that wiggled was cinched and any hair out-of-place got a healthy slicking with some product and either an “edge brush” or a fine toothed comb. Scarves/Headwraps were reserved for African garments and most certainly not mixed with any American clothing. Keep in mind that the African garments were all special occasion wear and they too had to be cinched and pulled and tied into place.

There was never a time that I felt comfortable to just throw something on unless I was going out to get dirty (which upon meeting some people who knew me as a very small child, I was exceptionally good at avoiding for my age). In my early days of going natural I felt so unkempt that I was in the salon chair WEEKLY with a TWA(teeny weenie afro). I’d never witnessed anyone that left the house without everything slicked, taped, shined and greased get a warm reception from anyone that I knew.

 

Why would we want this for the next generation?

it’s easy to discuss celebrity kids because they are always on the news and in the public eye. The thing that has disturbed me for the past year is the level of conversation surrounding a particular toddler with extremely rich and powerful entertainers as parents (Yes, Blue Ivy). In the beginning I found myself instinctually on the side of “please do that baby’s hair” but as I’ve worked with so many of you and had an opportunity to observe others as well as think introspectively about this journey…. they are right on point. I have two Goddaughters with natural hair, I take the time to re-style the Barbie dolls so that they can have a toy designed to build female self-esteem that looks like them. Doesn’t it make sense to allow a child to become comfortable with exactly who they are without all of the things that we smooth, slather and sprinkle on them?

Think of the difference it would make in how some of these women that we see on television that degrade themselves just to become popular and in turn set horrible examples of being rewarded for being everything except who you were made to be. If we concentrated our efforts on not placing the same passed down insecurities that we’ve received from generations before us, what would the world look like in 15 short years? Would we start to see more Willow Smith and Blue Ivy imitators than our current situation of plastic, distorted body image, emotionally damaged women? Would Mona Scott have to find a new demographic to exploit because the ones that we would foster in this new generation cannot be bought because they know their worth and recognize their own face and hair?

 

I’m not saying that we should all just stop doing our hair and stage some Happy to be Nappy protest. This isn’t Occupy the Beauty Supply Store. I just want more for the young girls coming up now. They have a chance to be so much more powerful upon their formal introduction to adult-hood than my generation and the ones before. Powerful in a sense that they can learn to love and accept one another and not be as catty and judgmental as many of us have learned to be.

Learn to Love Your Natural Curls and Kinks….and One Another’s

 

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