A little while back I watched the movie Nappily Ever After on Netflix and it got me thinking… but before I go into my thoughts and for the benefit those who might not have seen the movie yet, here’s a quick overview of what it’s about.
The movie is centred around this perfect to the ‘T’ Black woman who is overly obsessed with having perfect hair but not her hair in its natural kinky form – bone straight, flat ironed, bouncy kinda hair. This obsession began because of her mum who engraved into her mind that she has to have straight hair to be perfect and this will lead to happily ever after. Sadly, she goes through a heart break and the guy she was dating insinuates that it’s because of her obsession with being perfect. He talks about how she never let’s her hair down or does something spontaneous – all of which she didn’t really want to do because it could mess up her hair in someway. Fast forward a few scenes ahead and this lady shaves off ALL HER HAIR – like bald. She then begins a new journey on embracing her new look and in general, her nappy hair. This wasn’t particularly easy as everyone was so used to seeing her with her perfect long straight hair, that seeing her with a bald head and eventually new growth kinky hair came across as, weird…
… So like I said, it REALLY got me thinking – Is long hair the defining factor of how beautiful a woman is? Is beauty really determined purely by the outward appearance?
For those who have followed my blog for a while, you’ll probably have already guessed, but yes, I could resonate A LOT with many of the scenes in the movie. In fact, I cannot count the number of times people have asked me if I will grow my hair back or looked at me with a sad face because I cut my hair and some how, I’m no longer ‘as beautiful’ #haha.
Interesting story – I have a friend who finally got the courage to cut her hair shortly after I cut mine because of the freedom she noticed that my hair cut gave me and my new outlook on life after my big chop… but few weeks down the line, she started braiding her hair again and although she won’t admit it, this decision was most likely highly driven by several comments she got about her appearance since she cut here hair. One person told her she no longer looked beautiful and another told her her hair wasn’t christ like, all because she put a blade to her hair.
So this begs the question….
What really is Beauty and who determines the yardstick for what beautiful is?
Many people will say beauty is in the eyes of the beholder… but if we are true to ourselves, what we think beautiful should be is still determined by society. Yet we can all agree that society has come up with a whole lot of standards that are either simply down-right outrageous or completely unattainable. So knowing this, why then do we continue to judge, burden people with expectations, say seemingly innocent but hurtful things that concern a person’s beauty and then go home feeling like it’s all okay? Why should person X’s appearance match up to yours or your expectations? You’re not perfect… You have your own flaws and even though your flaw may not always be as visible as the next person, it doesn’t mean it’s not there.
Rather than continuously expect people to live up to what you perceive beauty is, why not focus all that energy into accepting people as they are, flaw-full and imperfectly unique. Rather that tell the next person he or she is less beautiful or less perfect, why not find something positive to say or better still, KEEP QUITE!
It’s taken me over 3 months to get myself back into blogging; One of the major things that contributed to it was my hair cut. It’s been a long and lonely journey trying to get myself to really accept my new look as it is and learn to dress it up when the need arises. The journey took even longer because of so many invisible forces putting pressure on my mind that the Demi of before looked better… Her hair made her beautiful, Demi looked better with long hair… but no, I’m beyond that – I’m beyond my hair.
My beauty, and yours as well, is not defined by hair, by looks and most especially not by what anyone thinks. It is determined by what you think of yourself and by what your creator says you are. Our beauty is beyond our appearance…
Hair will fall, Skin will sag, Sunburn will lead to damaged skin, stress will lead to breakouts. Nails will chip, Lips will crack, Hair will fizz, Clothes will rip. Sometimes money will be too low to afford the beauty treatments you hold so dear. Your foundation will go out of stock… So Focus on beauty that’s timeless, ageless, ‘unmodifiable’ and pure.
Beauty – … the state or quality of being beautiful
… Absorb that statement… Chew on it, Digest it and make it a part of your being.
One of the many YouTubers I look up to, Shalom Blac has a popular phrase that she quotes whenever she gets the opportunity to, and I leave you it today – Be your own kind of beautiful…
Don’t let anyone define what YOUR beautiful is.