The whole time I’ve lived in Europe,Ihave experienced the pressure of being different. The pressure to have a kind of beauty that did not conform to the standard of the world around me. Being a black woman could become sometimes like trying to climb Everest in barefoot. But as in all the tests that life puts people one. You finds the necessary tools to overcome or at least try.
After 43 years I have overcome my insecurities most others are still there to remind me that I’m not perfect and others to show me ,that I am a survivor. But after having understood not without much suffering and working in myself acceptance and the world around me.
I have come to understand: that we can’t please everyone or be martyrs and saviors of all causes. The idea of traveling to Africa seemed refreshing a part of a challenge for me. While I was preparing my trip to the black continent where I am now, writing this article. My believe and feeling are that life and places always surprise you. Being clear that nothing is as we expect, much less as we want it to be. It pains me to say with regret that my hoped to have a moment of relax about my appearance in Africa. Is not a reality.
Instead of women who care and love their natural hair and proudly wear it . I found an industry of hair extensions, more flourishing than in Europe where the social pressure to go unnoticed or be accepted is greater. The women in this part of Africa are ashamed of their natural hair, what lies behind pounds of human hair extensions or synthetic.
My own mother has undergone harassment and demolition for me to put in hair extensions. Saying that with my natural hair I looked like I had no money, or that I had neglected myself. But I have kept my word to wear my hair natural. The only thing I accepted was to wear braids root. Which I do in the summer when I’m in Europe.
My question is how is that in a continent where most women have curly hair, they are ashamed of it. It’s as if all the Asian decided to permanent their hair curly , to hide their straight hair. What it will seem terrible for me .
For the record, I am not against people wearing extensions. What is critical for me is that, it has become an addiction and obligations for most of black women. These women cover their hair abused by neglect with a beautiful wig with smooth appearance.
The only thing I can say is, no matter how much your hair move with the wind. At the end of the day the hair is not yours. The reality is presented each time you take the extensions of. Your hair is damaged lifeless ,your entries against increasingly pronounced because you have no hair. But you’re still wearing your long extensions. Because you don’t want to see the reality of who you are as a person and as a black woman.
In September ,last year I learned to love my hair and my person as ever. And I have to say that I feel stronger since I accept my natural hair as my own as an opportunity to discover who really I was . For me to accept my hair has been accepting my imperfections my fears, my insecurities. I converted those three words in a «yes» I am what I am. And is the only way I improve myself, loving myself completely and without restrictions.
I don’t say I’ll never put it back extension or straighten my hair. But it will for a change or an alternative look. No like an obligation or confirmation that I don’t accept myself. I’ll do simply because I love change. But knowing that underneath my beautiful natural hair , is there. And I can look at it any time. Because my hair is well protected, and when I get tired of the extensions and I want another change I can wear my natural hair without worry about what people think .
Yes, I have been disappointed inAfrica, always thought the quintessential African woman was a strong and determined woman. But if we can not fight something as simple as the stall of beauty that is thousands of miles from our homes and teach our daughters that they are beautiful as they are. That their hair is as beautiful to, but different from Caucasian little girl. Teach them that the only thing they need to do is take care of their hair ,to make it look beautiful. If we can’t pass on something so close and our as good.
What message can we send the world. The concept of self begins in childhood and in your home. If your mother is the first to be ashamed of her appearance. How can you love what you are as a person?
This is a fight I have with my mother. Despite living a long time in Europe, she has not yet realized that what counts are the facts not the word. To take action you don’t need take a banner and sitting on downtown. An action can
be ,the fact that your daughter sees you take care of your natural hair and love your skin color.
Obviously I can’t change my mother, nor do I pretend. I agree that it is from another era. That in his world appearance is paramount. But it is clear that the concept she has about appearance is not a healthy concept. It is a destructive concept. is a concept that has caused me many personal insecurities and social level. It is hard to accept who toy are ,when your own mother repeats constantly ,that everything you are, or think is bad. one my mother said this in aloud voice » if you are not light , you are nothing»
I still can believe that a woman who have a dark skin daughter can say something so destructive a careless.
It’s hard to fight a woman has to wear wigs extensions and their way of life. A woman who does not leave the room without putting on her wig. A woman who subjected me to psychological bullying for wearing my natural hair. Obviously in your eyes I’ll always be imperfect with my natural hair and my dark skin. Because, what you have learned and have etched in your experiences and time is: The beautiful thing is to have straight hair and light skin.
At one time her views have caused me pain, anger, and rage.
But now I just feel sorry for her. I would not imagine the kind of suffering that is subjected herself every time she looks in the mirror and see that what is reflected is what all whole life she hate.
Reality is a hammer hitting us mercilessly and is better than the sooner we accept. To cushion the effects of the disappointment that the encounter with it produce us.