Sunday, April 23, 2006

Life is a Journey


I know that for the most part I said that I would mostly blog here about Sisterlocks. What I am about to write is at least tangentially related. I am realizing that many women are not living lives that reflect their beauty. I don't mean that in a strictly superficial sense, though that comes into play as well.

When I decided to get Sisterlocks four years ago, I realize in retrospect, I was entering a phase of my life that is about embracing myself as myself. As with many women I have talked to about their transition to Sisterlocks or other natural options, the journey is as much about self-acceptance, self-awareness and self-celebration as it is about looking different on the outside.

I began making career changes, lifestyle changes...doing everything that I could to bring my day-to-day existence into accord with my soul's desires whatever they may be at the moment. That journey has caused me to challenge myself in every way. What kind of life *do* I want to lead? What must I have for this journey?

And since I have gotten Sisterlocks, life has continued in much the same way as before. While I did get some indirect comments at work, I really suffered no repercussions. But when the issue even surfaced, I realized for me that I had finally reached the point where I was comfortable enough with myself not to accomodate unreasonable external requests. --I read Mablean Ephraim is leaving the show Divorce Court in part because she was taken aback about requests they made regarding her hair. I think her response is full of it given the particular context, but that's for another post.-- What finally resonated for me was that for some reason it finally sunk into my head that I am more valuable than any job. And that I would be sought after by employers who valued my contribution as well as or in spite of my appearance. And at the end of the day, I think my attitude has made all the difference.

There is a lot of dust-up about the decision at Hampton University to ban cornrows and dreadlocks for its five year MBA candidates. I was a bit stunned that an institution purporting to cultivate African American leadership would take such a position, it reeks of self-loathing and obsequiousness...two qualities I would not want to instill with future entrepreneurs or businesspeople. But I was most reminded that there are those who face many obstacles to embracing their true selves.

On the personal side, I have also not experienced negative social reactions to my hair. Though I would hardly notice if a man was not attracted to me because of my hair since he wouldn't approach me. I definitely have not received any negative feedback. I wonder who these men are who dislike the natural texture of any woman's hair. All the moreso if they are of African descent. Do they loathe their own self? In my experience, men are most concerned about the length of a woman's hair. When I was relaxed I wore my hair very short to medium length and I got *lots* of feedback about the length. That does not happen anymore. But I wonder now if I got the feedback because I seemed vulnerable to it. I couldn't imagine holding an audience now with someone who wanted to give me an inventory of my shortcomings. And being luxuriously single, I would not choose a partner who did not think me absolutely splendid without cosmetic alteration...chemicall or otherwise. That a man ask me to straighten my hair to appear attractive seems as far-fetched as being asked to lighten my skin.

But I am aware that there are many women who are not being offered support along their journey and further may face real consequences for forging ahead.

So I feel especially blessed that I have had the opportunity to come this far and hope to go much further.

2 comments:

Tra said...

Renea,

Your comment about a man asking you to straghten your hair to be appear more attractive was so on target. I remember saying to my hubby once that if I were ask to do that it would be like asking me to get a nose job or something just as extreme.

Thanks for sharing.

Goodnapps said...

I am able to relate to this post point after point. Excellent.