European Standards of Beauty still Got Us Trippin’

I bet everybody thought India Arie was tripping when she said, “I am not my hair”. Back in the day, I would have rolled my eyes and said “Girl, bye!”

See I used to say that your eyebrows and your hair can make or break your appearance. Apart of me still believes this to be true. Come on now, I know we’ve all said or thought it once or twice. Jokingly, we’d all agree that if your hair and/or eyebrows aren’t done…that you need to get your life!

But, I knew I was tripping when I questioned my beauty because my hair didn’t hang to my shoulders, blow in the wind, and my 4c curl pattern wasn’t that loose curl that everyone praised so much.

In reality, I kew that neither of those things make you beautiful.

The truth is we rely on our hair to cover up insecurities that were given to us from people who don’t understand nor value our beauty. They created their own standard that completely erased our history and our very existence and we unconsciously complied with the status quo to fit into their story.

I realize that European Standards of Beauty still got me, you, and us trippin’. But, deep down I know that I’ll never trade my fro’ or my kinky curl for anything else.

The day I did the big chop and the day I decided to loc my hair, I had the same emotions. These two days were at least 4 years apart but I remember them both very vividly as if they were yesterday.

I was nervous and anxious but I ultimately had to come to terms with the fact that I was going against the norm. 

I vowed that I would no longer hide behind my safety net of weaves and braids because I couldn’t “deal” and I wanted to be presented as someone else. Instead, I was redefining beauty on my own terms. I was developing a new form of freedom for myself.

I know that my hair does not make me who I am, therefore, my hair does not make me beautiful. I ultimately decided to free my hair of hundreds of dollars of products and hours in the hair salon. I pledged to take my power back by owning and embracing who I truly am.   

I’ll be the first to admit that my hair definitely has a role in how I am viewed at first glance, but I am living within my truth and my own definition of beauty and that does not include allowing other individuals to criticize or judge who I am based on how I decide to style my hair.

It’s not all smiles and sunshine. I have my days where insecurity creeps in, but it’s all about being patient and aiming to be 100% confident and comfortable within my own skin.

I’ve learned to unconditionally love and accept my Blackness and doing so has informed my decisions to completely cut all the perm out of my hair and be natural and my now decision to loc my hair. Both journeys’ have been life changing, but I am more than excited about what each process has taught me about myself and what each process has contributed to my love for my culture.

I encourage everyone to understand that you are beautiful just the way that you are and no matter what you do with your hair, be sure to embrace your freedom and your culture. Be sure to do what makes you happy. European Standards of Beauty Still Got us Trippin, but I hope we take the power back.

{Photo from Pexels}

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