One customer said to me, “You’re glowing”, and I realized that was the key. There is a stark difference between the shield of self-confirmation and the openness of self-acceptance. I thought that nothing but the length of my hair had changed when I slipped on that wig*, but I went through a deeper transformation than I could have imagined.
When I put it on, I confirmed for myself my own beauty and wore that as a badge of pride, rather than a coat of armor.
I opened up and wondered less whether people were judging me or misinterpreting me because of the way that I looked.
Now, I should mention that my natural hair is in that awkward phase of growth between a TWA and a crown of glory, so that didn’t make things any easier.
However, the beauty of being a black woman is not that we have to choose between our natural selves and our created ones; It is the fact that we have the freedom to drift seamlessly between both while hardly batting an eyelash.
So, today, I am a gloriously straight-haired Amazonian and tomorrow I am a voluminously curly-haired African goddess. Will I be treated differently when I switch between the two? Most likely.
In American society, it is an unavoidable reality. This is what I have come to terms with because these two women are scrutinized by the world very differently. One already has a place in society’s vision.
She is identifiable, can be categorized, and because of this, appears more relatable. The other woman is still being discovered, truly. Society has tried to categorize her but she, in all her forms defies them.
Therefore, she cannot easily be compared to another of her type, and continues to be unrelatable to the inexperienced masses. But she is here, and the longer she stays, the less alien she becomes. The more normalized her presence is, the more beautiful she grows in time.