One of the challenges of growing up in a diverse society is finding your unique identity. For Black women, I fear some of us have become enamored with a concept of beauty that is not our own. I speak from experience. For years, I used enhancements and other process styles to provide me with a level of beauty I came to accept as normal and ideal. Last year, after struggling with severely damaged hair, I made the decision to cut my hair into a very, very, very low cut. Prior to the cut, I frequently asked myself if I was pretty enough to pull it off. I was concerned about the shape of my head, all sorts of mind tricks. I would often pull my hair back in an attempt to see what I might look like without hair. I even watched videos of other people, not Black women, shave their hair and delight with jubilation. But I am Black and I have formed my own perception of beauty based on my own experiences, feedback, and social influences. This was my second attempt at “going natural.” The first attempt ended in me feeling very insecure about my looks. I guess I wasn’t ready for the more Africanized look associated with my heritage and true identity. There is no epiphany associated with this piece. I am still “in the journey.” I am just opening my eyes to what beauty is and how many of “us” have been conditioned into accepting a standard of beauty we have to sacrifice our true beauty to achieve. I’m not saying every Black woman should go natural. My journey is MY journey and I just wanted to share.

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