An Epiphany About Following Beauty Standards
While sitting at work, I just made on of the most revolutionary discoveries of my entire twenty-one-years on Earth.
As you all know, whether from my Instagram or from my blog, I just started my “hair journey” and experimenting with wigs. I was tired of the broken, damaged hair I always sported, and wanted to switch my look up. I also wanted to grow my hair out longer and stronger, without doing the “big chop” and ending up with kinky hair that I 1) didn’t know how to take care of and 2) wasn’t my idea of the standard of beauty. (I’m fully aware that if I went natural, my hair would be tightly coiled and not those pretty, looser curls, and I’ve never thought I could sport a kinky afro.)
If you’re from my other social media files, you’d also know that one of my biggest insecurities is my hair. Even in my “A Letter to Africans from an African-American” blog post, I talked about how I grew up and have basically been conditioned to want straight, long hair, and to denounce natural hair. I felt so insecure when my mom roller-set my hair, because I knew that meant it would come out poofy and short. I wanted inches. I never experimented with my hair, because the one time I tried bangs, I got called “Mushroom Head” by kids at school until they grew back out. The most switching up I’d ever done was to switch my part from the left to the right. And I added in some color maybe once or twice.
Until now. When I decided to experiment with my hair in May of this year, I bought three different wigs. The first was the blunt-cut long bob I wrote a review on just a few weeks ago (if you’d like to see that post, click here). I actually mentioned in that review that it had very bumped ends out of the pack that I straightened out because I wanted it to be sleek and bone straight. I figured it would be my “every day wig,” and I honestly have been running it ragged. The second one was the voluminous, shoulder-length “almost afro” in a sultry off-black color. My reasoning behind this was because it would almost mimic the crochet braids my mom did for me at the beginning of May, but even fuller and curlier (admittedly, this wig was a little bit bigger than the picture on the website looked). Lastly, I bought one that had long, loose curls in a fun burgundy shade. This was to be my “weekend wig” – the one I’d wear to the club, to party, to…pretty much any informal function.
The problem lies in that I automatically assumed that the straight wig would be my go-to wig. I felt as though that should be the one I wear to professional meetings and even just be worn the most. Why? Because I’ve always had this fixation with straight hair being the prettiest and most presentable, because that’s what I grew up around. All the black girls I know from home that advocate so much for natural hair? They were sitting in class with me, hair so freshly relaxed you could see through to the scalp as well. I lived in a predominantly white neighborhood and attended a predominantly white school. You can’t blame us for being products of our environment.
I’ve been wearing the straight wig every single day for the past three weeks. Today, when I wore the curly wig, a sanitation engineer at my school came in and said, “Wow! I didn’t even recognize you; that style definitely suites you better than the other one.”
Yesterday, while my boyfriend and I were having a heart to heart, he said (quite randomly, I might I add), “That one is the worst one.” I was wearing the straight wig. I asked why. He replied, “It’s so boring. It’s not you.”
Even the first day I had my wigs and was switching in between them, my older sister had said, “That one is nice,” in reference to the straight one. When I tried on the dark, curly wig, she said, “Oh my gosh, that one is my favorite on you! I love it.”
Even when I’ve worn the long, burgundy wig on Instagram, I get a slew of “YASSSS BITCH” and “you look so good with curly hair!”
My mindset is changing. Just as I’ve said it’s taken me a little bit to be (more) comfortable with my dark skin, with my weight, my lack of lips, and everything else that makes me “Kylah D. Mason,” I’m coming to terms that my hair, whether human or synthetic, doesn’t have to be straight to be beautiful. I should play to what works for my natural beauty – and honestly, that is hair with some curls.
So, I ordered a new wig today. Not only is it a DR2730 wig (aka dark roots that fade down to a light bronze, almost dirty blonde), but it’s a little past shoulder length, and has waves. Along with my order, I purchased flexi rods to convert the straight wig to one with a little more texture. I can’t wait to add curly and even kinky wigs to my collection.
My “hair journey” goal is no longer just to grow longer hair, but I want to grow healthier hair that is long enough to put some pretty curls in.
I encourage everyone to experiment and figure out what works best for them – whether it’s your hair, your style, or even you body – and forget what you believe is the beauty standard. Your already are the beauty standard in your life and the lives of the others around you, so embrace that and never forget it.
Write you little lovelies later,
XO Ky M.