Sunday, January 15, 2017

It's Just Hair, Right?

What does your hair mean to you?

Is it just an accessory? An additional form of expression? Something to add a little flair to your aesthetic? 

Or does it hold a deeper meaning for you? Is it a political statement?

I've encountered this discussion across several platforms, in several circles, and the responses always vary. Not everyone values their hair the same way because the manners in which they've come to love it differ. For some women, hair is just what it is. Hair. And for many others it's much deeper than an accessory due to life experiences that have taught them to feel that way. I would argue that neither opinion is necessarily right. I, nor anyone else, is in any position to police women's hair. However, I always am intrigued by the explanations behind ladies' responses to the question. 

For me, my hair is both. It's funky, it's fun, I love to play and experiment with it. However, there is a part of me that views my naturally kinky hair as a political statement. Anytime that I sport an afro I feel as if I'm resisting traditional norms of beauty. And I feel this resistance because I always have conflicting feelings about it. Despite being proud of it, I still feel self-conscious because a part of me still longs to wear hair that is acceptable. Normal. Sexy. Deep down I realize these are superficial feelings that I ought not take heed to, but sometimes I can't ignore the thoughts. 

I want to feel beautiful and for many years I have been conditioned to believe that my natural hair is not that. 

My relationship with my hair is steadily improving. The beliefs that I have had about it are deeply rooted, seeded in my childhood. When you have been conditioned to believe things about yourself for so long, it can possibly take years to recondition yourself to feel differently. And that is where I currently am. The more that I learn about the history of African-American hair, its treatment, and political significance across time, my opinion changes--more positively at that. I am realizing that much of the ideas I have had about my hair stem from this history and this in turn, helps me to embrace it more. In the meantime, I plan to continue celebrating it--every kink and every coil. 

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Happy New Year (and all that stuff)

Happy New Year!

I'm finally back.

....and I'm better. 

Or at least I intend to be for 2017. I mean, don't we all? Within each of us is a minute smidgen of hope that just maybe we'll manage to get ourselves together in the new year. There is something refreshing about entering a new year, as if all of our transgressions magically dissipate once the clock hits twelve. 

I toss around ideas of new year's resolutions in my mind but ultimately I know that nothing will get better. And that is not a pessimistic opinion; that's a fact. Because I know myself. I've been knowing myself for a little over two decades now so if anyone is an expert on me, it's me. 

I realize what my strengths are, acknowledge my weaknesses, and understand how my mind functions under pressure. I realize how easily tempted I am to be suckered into mediocrity once I'm comfortable. I'm already aware of how I react when I tend to let myself down. And I know exactly what to do to uplift my spirits all over again. 

The beginning of a new year has nothing to do with any of it. If I'm truly committed to change any area of my life, I will make it happen any time of the year. 

One mistake that I refuse to make is convincing myself that I cannot do something because it's too late. That I need a new year to have a fresh start. That I just can't commit to it out of nowhere. That I have no control of the path my life is heading in. That is pessimism. 

There are a number of things that I would like to devote more time to in 2017 but most importantly, I plan to be realistic. I'm only a mortal being; I cannot accomplish it all and I accept that. However, that will hinder me from at least trying. 

What are some things you'd like to accomplish in 2017?