This weekend I got to spend time with a lot of my family. It was wonderful to be able to catch up with one another and find out about the new twists and turns that life has brought into each of our lives. One of the things that stood out for me was a conversation with one of my young cousins.
She is preparing to go off to college in the next few days and made a comment that she wanted to get a hair weave before leaving for school. This statement really surprised me because the implication was that she didn’t believe she was beautiful enough with her own hair. Now let me be clear, I’m not trying to pull one of those “Baby, you’re beautiful on the inside so that makes you beautiful on the outside” comments that Mothers are famous for telling their girls. No, this young lady is truly beautiful; she looks like a famous pop music singer. So the fact that she saw herself as needing some type of dramatic “enhancement” was baffling to me. It made me concerned about how my own daughter will one day see herself, despite that fact that she too is a beautiful girl.
The whole experience made me think about my days as a teen and a Twenty-something. I remember experimenting with fake hair, fake nails, and even a fake eye color. I thought that these things added to my beauty. Wait, that’s not true, at the time I didn’t see myself as beautiful, so I tried those things hoping that they would MAKE me beautiful. It has taken some time and reprogramming my mindset to no longer accept the fashion industries standard of beauty as the only or even the most important one that exists. It also required an upgrade to my confidence level to appreciate who and what I see in the mirror. Now that I’m in my Thirties I can appreciate the unique beauty that is mine. And, at times I will even look in the mirror and sing to myself, “You are so beautiful to me…!”
Back to my cousin. When I thought about what she wanted to do it reminded me of a magnificent rose. What if the rose thought, “This shade of red isn’t pretty enough. I need to get some paint and paint myself Crayola red.” Of course that is absurd, the rose doesn’t doubt it’s exceptional appeal, nor would the majority of us want to smell and admire a painted rose. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not speaking against using make-up or coloring our hair. Those little tweaks can be provide much needed pick me ups and help to accentuate our most exquisite features as women. However, when we let ourselves get to a point where we are dependent on them, and feel as though we are inadequate and unappealing without them, we really have a problem. When a beautiful young girl with a “celebrity face and figure” sees herself and thinks “this isn’t good enough,” then something is wrong.
I don’t know if my cousin will end up getting the weave added to her hair or not. But I do hope that either way, she looks at her reflection and knows that whether her hair cascades down her back or whether it barley skims her neck that she truly is beautiful on the inside and that is what magnifies her external beauty. It turns out Mama was right all along!Share