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Saturday, July 26, 2008

Embracing Your Natural Beauty

As unique individuals of a similar species, we are all born with qualities that distinctively distinguish us from one another.

There are many congenital factors which contribute to our originality such as culture, customs, environment, and genetics. With that being said, our physical characteristics contribute to painting the world in its beautiful colors, adding texture and zest to what would otherwise be a bland, featureless world.

Skin tones can range in color from pink, yellow, olive, golden, bronze, to many different shades of brown. Hair color varies in shades of blond, brown, red, silver, and black; sometimes all of these colors can even be found on one single head. The windows to our souls are also tinted in an array of colors that can fall between blue, green, brown and gray. In addition to these colorful features, our skin and hair are again broken down into different types. Some of us are very pleased with the intricate combination that we were born with, while others are not; instead, choosing to embrace society’s standards.

As many of us know, today’s world consists of plastic surgery, color contact lenses, skin bleachers, nail tips, perms, hair extensions, weaves, and everything else that can be altered in order to sketch a smile on the face of what our mind considers to be beautiful. Let us take a look at the definition of beautiful.

Having qualities that delight the senses, especially the sense of sight.

Does this definition insinuate that unless you are naturally born with qualities that delight society’s sense of sight, you must modify your appearance in order to be accepted as beautiful?
It is appalling to even imagine this to be true; but by just taking a look around us, how could we say it is not? It may seem as if certain cultures target particular fixations; again, this may be due to certain genetic make-ups in which society has labeled as less than acceptable. Of course all ethnicities tamper with all available altering options, it is observed that while more Caucasian groups desire plastic surgery, more African Americans lean towards wanting straighter hair, but both desperately go through equally drastic measures to attain self satisfaction.

As many of us know, for the longest time in today’s world, straight hair has been the norm. With an exception of the 70’s, many African- Americans did not know how to appreciate natural pattern and beauty of their hair. Even children who have never had a complex and appreciated their hair was taught that straight hair was “good hair” and that hair that was not straighten was “nappy” and “unkempt”. For years now, we have depended on the straightening comb and chemical processing to get the hair to “be good” or “be tamed” so that it could be easier to comb and manage.

The cold reality of managing “good hair” is that people pay to have it damaged. What person in their right mind would pay for that, right? Well, that is just the thing…they obviously aren’t in their right mind. Whatever happened to our Higher Being and appreciating the way He created us? People in their right mind would think about how special He created each of us, down to the hair that grows from our scalps. Despite its texture and pattern, it is healthy hair; no different than the person’s hair that grows from their scalp straight. Do they go through the dreadful process of paying someone to make their hair “good”? Straight does not make hair good. What makes it good is that it’s healthy and it’s yours. If the whole process is thought about long and hard enough, questions of self worth and acceptance should undoubtedly surface. What then makes African-American hair bad? Is it fear that someone caught wearing their naturally textured hair will be seen as bad or shameful?

As more and more African-Americans have been embracing their natural hair, what they find is not nappy, kinky, or even coarse hair. It actually has a beautiful, medium to fine texture ranging from millions of medium to small curls. They eventually discover that the “kinky” or “nappy” hair that they thought they had, came from trying so hard to make their hair something it was not. It is sad how many people resort to doing things solely to fit into the norm. Whether it is your hair, nose, breasts, stomach or thighs you want to change; just as a person can discover their hair is naturally beautiful, you can soon discover that everything about you is naturally beautiful and does not need changing. True beauty is ONLY defined through the eyes of the beholder. Once you learn to recognize your beauty naturally, so will everyone else. Beauty is always there, but it takes wisdom to truly embrace.