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Pretty is Defined by You

Updated: Feb 4, 2021

We live in a world where everyone shows up as confident and oh so in love with self. Or so it seems via social media. However, if we are real with ourselves, we've all had insecurities or inhibitions regarding our physical appearance. But why though? Why are we so enthralled with what we look like, and more importantly, why do we strive to look like everyone else? If there's a trend, often times we feel the need to join in. Lord knows if some glorified fashion guru of the stars says red lipstick is the rave, some of us rush to slather on some Ruby Woo (my favorite shade of red by the way). I had a revelation after observing social media and having conversations with other women. I realized that so many of us grown women are seeking validation outside of ourselves. We look to our partners, homegirls, or (more commonly these days) social media, also known as total strangers, to make us feel good enough. When all we have to do is spend some time with self. Live, observe, hurt, heal, journal, thrive, and repeat. Life is a constant cycle of getting to our core selves. We have to get to know who we truly are and what we like, minus who the world tells us we should be.

As a woman who rocks a baldie—and proudly I might add—I can’t tell you how many ladies say to me on a regular basis, “I love your haircut, but GIRL, what did your husband say?" Then, the next thing that follows is the serious facial expression and lowered tone of, "My man would have a fit if I cut my hair", which they often feel the need to add. I'm never quite sure if this warrants a response, or if they even expect one. My reaction is usually a cross between confusion and nonjudgment, because I really don't know what to say after that.

Now don't get me wrong. I believe in being on the same page with my spouse too. However, when it comes to my appearance and how I show up in the world, that is completely up to me. I have to feel good about myself and be able to freely express who I am without constraints. I have to define my pretty in my own way. That said, I would never allow my partner to dictate how I wear my hair. Of course there are preferences of our beauty that our mates are drawn to more than others, no problem there. I'm with all that, and I do mean all of it!

I'm simply saying it shouldn’t mean you have to acquiesce your look to fit what someone else likes. If they're into you, they should be into you regardless, just because you're you. Think about it this way, if something was to happen and our physical appearance drastically changed, wouldn't we expect to be loved in the same ways? Or would we think "Welp, my skin was burned in a fire, I understand if ________ don't want me no more ." I hope we all would expect the prior. If not, that's another blog for another day, chile. We'll have to go real deep for that one.

I happen to be a rebel when it comes to what the world has taught us about beauty. Especially, about black beauty! We already have the mental shackles of colorism, hair texture hang-ups, or just anything that makes us closer to the European aesthetic. What we don't need is to add more unrealistic expectation to our psyches. More pointedly, we should all accept ourselves as beautiful people who birthed much of what other races strive to be today. No shade, but the facts are the facts.

Who doesn't recall getting relaxers or being burned with the hot comb as a child? Our foremothers were constantly trying to defy our curls to make our appearances good enough for society. Thankfully, in our generation, most of us have started to embrace our hair the way it grows out of our scalps. There's nothing wrong with relaxed styles at all, don't get that twisted. That's definitely not what I'm saying here. By all means, rock your hair in whatever way pleases you, and do so with precision. That's the point. Do you, Sis! As women, we are raised to seek validation at every turn. If you stop and think about it, so many of our insecurities are based on what society says is acceptable or pretty, and that is forever changing. None of us can keep up with the "norms", so why do we try? I remember back in the 80s and early 90s when it was "in" to be super slim with a heavy top. Then, in the latter 90s, the thick craze hit the scene, and I don't even need to tell y'all how that has evolved. The influx of plastic surgeons and underground butt injectors is proof of how far this has gone.

In the words of Mary J. Blige, 'go head and hold your head high 'cause you're a pretty woman', because beauty is a mindset. And that's not only on Mary had a little lamb (shout out to Durell Smylie), but it's also on our ancestors who graced this land before us, and weren't able to be themselves. Long hair, big hair, short hair, curly, bald, or straight. Vanilla cream to mahogany sheen. Full lips or none at all. Figure on curvy, slim, petite, and itty bitty. Sis, you define your own pretty. Don't let anyone do that for you. Keep it cute until next time, beautiful people!

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