I Am Not My Hair, I Am Not My Curves

Sometimes I wonder as a woman of color, why I am most often perceived to be a certain way because of my size or because of my hairstyle.  I know that first impressions mean everything in our society, but some portions of my appearance are given to me by my parents.  I have no bearing on how the presence of curves or kinky-curly-coily-relaxed hair makes people feel about me.

black woman's hair

See, I was at a point where I didn't know how to feel about my outer appearance.  Being a woman in general should be the equivalent of being born with a crown adorning your head (in my opinion).  And being a woman of color, makes me a special kind of woman, as my mother taught me.  But the way women of color are portrayed in the media speaks just the opposite.  Why was this, I wondered?

Deciding how to wear my hair has always taken special consideration.  Should I or should I not wear my hair this way or that was an everyday battle.  Sometimes I felt that I could not embrace the creative impulses within me to sport a curly afro or braids to social functions with people who are not of color.  I have always played it safe with relaxed hair and opted to add flowing tracks in order to "fit in".  Was this because of my own insecurities or were these insecurities forced upon me by society?

Not only was I having insecurities about my hair, I was feeling some type of way about my weight.  Standing at 5'4, I'm sure some medical guidelines somewhere state that I should be about 133 lbs.  The truth of the matter is, I haven't weighed 133 lbs. since my senior year of high school.  Since I have had my two children I have been carrying a voluptuous 155 lb. frame.  I had a flat stomach and was "thick" in all the right places according to the "men-folk".  However, since I have moved to a new location and have been doing the full-time work, school, and mom thing, I now weigh in at 180.  And I am thick in all the wrong places.  Funny thing is, I was still walking around in all my fabulousness and splendor until one of my friends busted my bubble.  My Vietnamese guy friend told me that I was close to obesity, if not already.  I cursed a blue streak and was angered for a minute!

So lately I've been doing a bit of self-reflection.  This has required me to look deep within in order to love and accept myself in my natural, genuine state.  The good part is that I am learning to love myself as God uniquely made me.  The even better part is that I have admitted there is room for improvement in quite a few areas of my life.  I have recently started a new workout regimen, not because some man said I was overweight, but because I was making unhealthy lifestyle choices.  I have also started eating healthier.  And I have also started a new happy hair journey, thanks to lots of researching on the interwebs and late-night YouTube binge-watching.  Though I could care less what people think of my hairstyles now, I do have to take care of it and keep it healthy so that I will still have most of it when I'm graying.

But most importantly, I am realizing that my greatest qualities are my creativity, my heart of gold, and my compassion.  Neither of these things will be noticed by doing a once-over at my figure or my long or short tresses.  As India Arie stated, along with a remix of my own, I AM NOT MY HAIR, I AM NOT MY CURVES! Nevertheless, I do love them both!

Photo Credit: Raquel Santana on Unsplash
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