The Well Magazine Summer 2012 - Page 19

It is the text message my husband sends me back after I send him the picture from the beauty shop after the Big Chop. They are the same words that he wrote to me in a poem years ago. The words bring a smile to my face. They always do. It’s important to know that I am free and have the power. But the affirmation feels good. When my father sees me, he says, “I like your hair.” It feels good. Not only do the words of affirmation from family and friends feel good. But I feel good. When I jump into the swimming pool with no worries, it feels good. When I sit in the steam room at the gym, it feels good. When I run my hand over my hair, it feels good. Sometimes I imagine myself saying to my natural hair, “Where have you been all my life?” And it says back to me, “Right here. You’ve been hiding me and torturing me. But I’ve always been here.” More than a decade ago, I wrote an essay for a creative writing class entitled “Roots” where I talk about being “addicted” to perm. At times I have considered opting for a more natural style. I love Lauryn Hill’s locks and Venus and Serena’s braids. Then the fear of change comes. I would have to start from scratch to grow locks. How would I look with an almost bald head? What would I do while it is growing out? Is my head shaped funny? How will I look? How will people react? Will I have the styling versatility that my “unnatural” hair provides? Then there are the questions that go beyond the physical. Am I trying to live up to some European standard of beauty? Can you be an enlightened Black woman and down for the cause without dreadlocks or an Afro? Isn’t my blackness contained in more than just the way I wear my hair? In New York City last summer I saw sisters with straight hair, nappy hair, bald heads, dreadlocks and braids. They were all beautiful and their styles were as beautiful and varied as their skin tones. We are beautiful. No matter how we choose to wear our hair. We are beautiful because we are made in God’s image. Wearing my hair natural does not make me more “conscious.” Wearing a perm or weave does not make me a sell out or hate myself. But women, especially black women, must stop letting our hair be what defines us. Rather than celebrating Olympian Gabby Douglas’s accomplishments, the thought on too many sisters’ minds when they saw Gabby was, “I wish her hair was tighter.” That’s bondage. Maybe one day I will perm my hair again. It will be my choice. A choice that I am free to make. But the important thing is that I know that I am not in bondage to my hair or fear. I’m free to be natural. And I am beautiful because God made me fearfully and wonderfully. I am his workmanship. His masterpiece. And my beauty does not come from the mane on my head but from my heart. CONTINUED FROM PAGE 28 STEPS TO SUCCESS Appl 6F&FBvBvVW"V&VƖVbB7&V6RW"fFࠤ'VB@vWBFv&VV֖v2&RF&V'VBFRv2bW'W6V&V6W6R( FRVRB֖BFv&( 6VVrB6rBB&VƖWfrBVFrbRF( BF6WFr( &Bv&'&w2&fB'WBW&RFƲVG2ǒFfW'G( &fW&'2C#2vBv&W72FRv&bW"BRvVW&VB6V2'WBFW&^( 2VVBFVWFR6Vb^( &R7FVwBvBvvfRFR7&V6R'WBRfRFB6WFr'VFr2&6W72B2FR7FW'7FW'&6''&6fVFF2F&RBB'VBWvBvW7F&Ɨ6FRv&bW"G26r'WBRfRFv&Ɩ6FWfVbN( 267FWF6WFrWfW'F6WB66Wf&Rv2F( BG'F'V&FFRf'7BFW7BvƲ&VBFR&6vWBFRVFBRVVBfB&W6W&6W27F'B&Rv6( B'VBFBW"G&VƖVǒv( B&RVFW"bFW6R7FW2&RVFW&v&FVB'&W"BrvRfRFFFRFW&BWFW&v&&W"&fFW2F&V7FV6W&vVVBFfFBf&FrV2W2FWBW"&W'2F7F#"7FWFW"FW7F瓢6VRB6B&VƖWfRBB'VBBࠤ&V6Rw&6R'FW FRvVvRffW'2'W6W76W2VG&W&VWW'2B&v旦F2'GVGF'FW"vFW2bRfR6W'f6R&GV7B"WfVBFffW"W"&VFW'2R6fRf&F&WBFB&GV7B6W'f6R"WfVBV&Ɨ6VBBF7G&'WFVB'FRvVvRf"&Rf&F6F7B6fVFB6GFWvV6"6sCӃ3SFR֖7G'6&GFBv&VVfBg&W"w&6R'FW"f"F277VRv&R6VFW"f"vVW66rg&FW7F2fV6R7VW"#"FRvVvP