I’m a black girl.
Just in case you didn’t notice.
On my tenth birthday, I received the honor of going to the local hair stylist and getting my hair pressed.
Definition of hair “press” – Hair pressing, also called hot coming and flat ironing, is a method of temporarily straightening curly, frizzy, or unruly hair by means of a heated iron or comb.
You couldn’t tell me nothin’.
My hair had “swing”.
And you better believe that I was swinging my head all over the place.
My head almost detached from my neck.
But alas, I’m a July baby and that Texas summer heat meant only one thing.
My straight hair did not stay straight long.
I started sweating and my hair puffed up like I had “poodle” running through my veins.
Fast forward to age 15. I was allowed to finally get my hair “permed”.
Definition of “perm” – the term often used for the process to permanently straighten or relax hair with chemicals.
Now my hair was straight permanently.
The Texas heat couldn’t touch me.
For years, I regularly went to the beauty shop and later braved the chemicals in my kitchen on a bi-monthly basis to keep my hair straight.
But I’m not the only girl changing things up.
“Perm” has another definition too ya know.
Definition of “perm” – Hair is washed and wrapped on a perm rod and waving lotion is applied with a base. The hair swells, stretches and softens, then molds around the shape of the perm rod.
White girls do the perm thing too.
So let me get this straight.
We’ve got black girls with curls going for straight hair and white girls with straight hair going for the curly look – each of us trying to permanently alter our God-given follicle fabulousity (yes I made that word up) for the fashion forward statement of the day.
And perms have had their hay day in both cases.
Many of girls sporting a darker hue have tampered with Dark and Lovely.
Many girls with a lighter hue have dabbled in a Toni home perm.
In the last 10 years however, I’ve noticed a shift. Seems to me that in both cases there has been a surge in the opposite direction in terms of popularity of the opposing hair style.
Now we’ve got lots of brown girls walking around with their hair curly, twisted, braided and in it’s “natural” state.
We’ve also got lots of creamy girls walking around with hair hanging down in a straight line.
Either way, there seems to have been a general broad-based cultural acceptance as of late of the natural, God-given state of things that exist above our brains.
But how did either shade of sensational sister come to the conclusion that they should attempt to permanently altar what was so magically coming out in the first place?
So… before you think I’ve lost my mind and marbles to spend a whole post talking about chemically treated hair and the history of the human follicle…
This post actually has nothing to do with the politically correct style for girls of any shade. It is not a denunciation of chemically treated hair, natural hair, or fake hair of any kind.
But there is a point.
As we wind down the month of March and simultaneously wind down my days of bloggity madness, I’ve been contemplating something.
Why do so many of us seek to permanently alter our natural design to fit someone else’s mold?
Are we not satisfied with ourselves?
Are in constant pursuit of an ideal type of the woman not realizing that we – as we are – are enough?
Well I want to put it out there.
We are enough.
You are enough.
Outside and inside.
Here’s what happens when a woman, black or white, gets a “perm”.
The use of chemicals breaks down and reforms the bonds of the hair. The solution creates a chemical reaction that softens the inner structure of the hair by breaking some of the links within and between the protein chains of the hair. The hair then reforms into whatever shape (curly or shape) it is trained into.
You know what?
Perms for the hair mimic the faking-of-the-funk in real life.
We are constantly looking for solutions to make us something we are not.
We spend time watching others, trying to copy how they look, how they act, or their recipes for supposed success.
We try to reform our outer or inner design by breaking some of the links with our God given power, personality, or potential and trading them for new chains or connections depicted at large by others to be the “thing to do.”
We are in pursuit of the person we already are.
Everything we need to be beautifully and wonderfully awesome…
We are already have.
We just need to learn how to appreciate it.
And love her.
During this last month of examining in jest what I can change about my various sources of hair,
I am challenged.
I am challenged with my hair, my eyebrows, and my mustache…
And more importantly, my mind, my personality, and my soul…
… to STOP trying to be something I’m not.
There’s nothing wrong with getting your eyebrows threaded, plucked, waxed, or wacked off for that matter.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with perming, coloring, cutting or even trading your hair out for a bag of somebody else’s.
And there’s plenty of extra hair to go around.
See… I told ya.
Now… there’s nothing wrong with becoming a better version of you.
But there is EVERYTHING wrong with seeking any changes outside or inside to validate the perfect creature you already are.
You are enough.
While we should always be in passionate pursuit of the best version of ourselves, we should never get that confused with copying the design of another.
So I challenge you to discover the woman you were created to be to the fullest – your purpose, your power, and every possibility.
I’m challenged to figure out how God made me and to learn to be comfortable in my own skin, my own situation, and my very unique set of circumstances.
I hope you are too.
I’m challenged to be the best I can be but not to sell-out for a cheaper less potent version of myself in the process.
I hope you are too.
I’m challenged to stop taking shortcuts and to live fully outloud the live – this one life – that I get to live.
I hope you are too.
And along the journey, if a few black or white girls…
…slap some chemicals on our hair for the perfect perm
…yank a brow hair for a flawless arch
…or shave a mustache for a clean upper lip…
who really cares.
I say we are all God’s chillun’ and focusing on who He wants us to be is more important anyway.
In the meantime, feel free to check out this post on marriage at forthefamily.org