By: Essence Brooks
When some people think of beauty, sadly black is usually last on the list. I always wondered why this was. Black is unique. Black is fierce. Black is gorgeous. As black women we have so many wonderful qualities in us especially physically. I’ll start with our natural hair. The term Nappy is what most use to describe it but now that term is looked at as a “bad word” in the natural hair community. There are many types of grades or textures that we possess. The historic mentality about our hair stems from years of mental conditioning.
We were taught that our hair was not good enough and maybe if you were mixed with another race you may be treated better. This exact mental conditioning still exists today. Our hair was hard to tame. And then, Wala!, the hot comb and relaxer were created. Within the past few years more women have been and still are flaunting their natural tresses. I’ve been sporting my natural hair for almost four years now after having my hair relaxed for most of my life. Trust me, it was a struggle in the beginning but that’s expected with anything new.
I looked to other women for inspiration and discovered how to take care of my hair. This is something that was never taught to me and isn’t taught in most black households. Getting a relaxer is like a tradition in the black community. I really want you to know that your hair, like anything, is what you make of it.
Never let anyone tell what your hair is or isn’t. If you have thick hair be proud of it. There are people who wish they had the thickness you have. When you walk with confidence others can see and feel it. It’s energy and energy is transferable.
As beautiful black women we own great physical features such as our full lips, hips and skin tone. There are thousands of women of other races that are getting tans and injections to possess skin, hips and lips like ours. I don’t know about you but that definitely makes me feel honored and blessed. Think about the millions of dollars being spent to get a body like the ones we have naturally. These wonderful features, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, are being glorified by the media.
Highly influential people like celebrities play into this as well. People worldwide are getting tons of plastic surgery or even wearing enhancements to obtain our shape. T.V shows, commercials, magazines and even social media will attempt to tell you what beauty is and if you are anything other than what they display it’s not beauty. Notice I said “attempt” to tell you because you have the power to create what you think is beautiful.
Media has always played a role in how we think of ourselves. I too was a victim to this. I wanted to dress like the characters on my favorite television shows, wear my hair like theirs, and have the life they perceived to live. I’m not sure what it is about us humans that make us want what others have.
You have a brain for a reason which is to make up your own mind. By listening to what the media portrays as beautiful is basically letting a stranger run your life; letting them determine what you think, how you speak and act. Ironic as it is most images, models, actors and lifestyles that we idolize are not even real.
Melanin is probably the most obvious yet beautiful quality that we have. If you’re unaware, Melanin, is the chemical that gives our skin the darkness or tone we have. It protects us from the extremely harsh rays of the sun and it also found in our hair.
One of the best qualities one can possess is feeling comfortable in your skin. It’s a very cliché statement but absolutely true. It’s important to stop comparing yourself to others. Comparing is like a disease. It’s something that will have you second guessing or even disliking yourself which is not healthy. Don’t ever feel like you need makeup to be or feel beautiful. Beauty comes in many forms.
Don’t get me wrong I’m not advising you not to wear makeup; but when you do wear it with the mentality that it’s an accessory, a want not a need. Embrace your beauty marks. Embrace your dimples. Embrace your long legs and brown skin. Embrace your curves. Embrace the features that are unique to you. It’s what makes you who you are.
Gaining a new mentality other than what we’ve always known is a learning process but definitely possible. This is something I had to overcome. When I was younger I didn’t like my skin tone. I now look around and instantly notice how beautiful black skin is, ALL SHADES. I’m captivated by it. It’s amazing how our perception changes over time.
There will be plenty of things we see that we admire and may want to mimic. Just know that is ok to like or even compliment someone without desiring to be like them. Your perception is what’s key to you tapping into your outer beauty because we all know that beauty is skin deep. If you have the mind frame that you are beautiful, then you are. That’s all that counts. You are the deciding factor of the true definition of beauty.