My hair is kinky. It is frizzy and so unlike what I am used to. I have been close to going natural with my hair for some time now, and yet society always pulls me back. I guess I have just been afraid of what it might look like if I walked around with this super ethnic hairdo that is culturally taboo in a society that is not always ethno friendly. And yet there is something that inherently goes against a healthy self image when thinking about the lack of acceptance I might have for my naturally produced hair.
I am not sure that I have made a permanent commitment to the natural hair lifestyle but I have made a commitment to explore another aspect of myself that I feel is divinely tied to the creation that was made by the Gods; my kinky, black woman hair.
My hair got me to thinking about what my image of the Goddess is and what I have visualized her head of hair looking like. While I don’t always visualize the Gods as one image or being, I think it is natural for humans to conceptualize the divine as an image that is similar to the image in the mirror. What I find to be amazing is the automatic programming that happens unconsciously, leading us to believe that the face of divinity is fair skin and with flowing hair. It is the conditioning of the Americanized version of “right” that seeps into the mind and implants itself. It is these same images that infiltrate ethnic cultures and convince them that acceptable American culture means leaving behind heritage for a more mainstream image.
I have worn straight hair since elementary school, with one period of lightly permed curls while pregnant. It was the norm, it was the expectation. And so I find myself wondering how my programmed sense of self is so entrenched with the ideas of a country that has always struggled to accept the very divine nature of the Black person to start with. In setting my baseline of beauty on the conditioning of a culture that has been steeped in biases and the hatred of my ancestors, am I participating in a process that denies my Goddess given beauty and is depriving my own sense of self worth? These things I have recently questioned.
Images of the woman in society have always reflected the flowing hair image of the feminine as angelic and righteous. Kinky or nappy hair has been villainized as undesirable, unfeminine and unsexy. The unconscious, and sometimes conscious, messages become programmed in our schema, conditioning a type of critical self evaluation.
These types of mainstream culture messages can be confusing to ones ability to reconcile with spiritual beliefs that each of us is sacred, as all things are sacred. Is my hair sacred? Am I losing the messages of my ancestors that are hidden in my curls and I am too busy thinking about societal beauty to notice what I am losing? Am I beautiful with my kinky hair?
I plan to explore my own relationship with the Goddess as I go through this process of restoration; allowing myself to connect with the divine by connecting with her creation.
It is dry in nature, frizzy and seemingly unmanageable. Yet I know I am still a child of the Goddess, an extension of her being, with this cultural mop on my head.
Today I know that I am just as sacred as I was when I put chemicals in my hair to wash away my lineage.