There is this cliché saying: Beauty is more than skin deep. Which is eternally true, however, what’s on the outside, the reflection in the mirror, yearns to see, be told that its beautiful. At least, I know that’s my story. For years, starting out in the sixth grade and throughout my early twenties, I STRUGGLED with self-image. In my eyes, I didn’t measure up to the pretty girls who graced the corridors of the school, sidewalks of the world, tv screens, and front covers of popular magazines with their acceptable feminine qualities: sexy body frames, clear skin, designer clothes, and irresistible hair. I was such a late bloomer in just about everything and those images, that didn't look like me, became my standard of beauty.
So, conformity became the name of the game; stealing bits and pieces of what was defined to me as beautiful, causing me to shape-shift. I transformed into a gazillion women, especially, when it came to my hair. Long straight hair, was highly-praised as beautiful growing up, Long Hair Don't Care was the spirit of beauty, then like many others my age, we bought it and became it that kind of beautiful. I did this with several beauty trends, If I could buy it, I tried it. I believed the images projected to me were what I was to become in order to be considered beautiful until I stood completely unrecognizable.
My beauty was stripped, until 3 years ago, where I stood facing my bathroom mirror beholding my heat-damaged, kinky-coiled, shoulder-length hair. The first thought that came to mind was to cut it off. After 2 years of going natural, I was going nowhere, and felt alien to my own skin, especially my hair. So, I raised a pair of shears in hand (after binging on endless big chop vids on YouTube) and allowed the locks of hair to fall until the woman staring back at me in the mirror was made new. It wasn’t easy, but I journeyed on to learn and accept the truth, that how I was created was no mistake, but rather intentional. That every part of me was and still is like Jazmine Sullivan’s song: a work of art, a masterpiece. Each day I made a choice to love all of me as my hair grew out naturally from my scalp until the kinky-coiled locks grazed the curves of my shoulders. And I no longer shouldered- the weight of the world’s messages of beauty, because I became free by the realization that I am my own kind of beautiful.
This is not to say that I completely stepped away from hair extensions, sometimes, a girl just need to feel hair draped and swung down her back! Sometimes, I just want a break and to implement some protective styling. And sometimes, I just want to explore the wonder of women. Our fluidity, creativity, and freedom to transform and have fun with our looks is never ending. However, my point of wisdom is this: Never misuse these things as an excuse to mask or cover up the real beautiful you! You are your own definition of what beauty is; a never before witnessed original in plain sight. Embrace the very things about you that others may find strange! Because there will never be another one like you, so own it! Defy the suffocating limits and standards of beauty and become your own beautified image! Own every curve, every hue of color, from your eyes, to your skin. I don’t care if it is straight, curly, kinky, wavy; colored or fun hair extensions! Explore what the world of beauty has to offer! Try new things and simply but boldly express who you are! Just remember, while the term Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder rings true, let that first beholder, the natural woman in that mirror, be you. She is beautiful.
Facebook: Centra Smith (Queening)
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