Lately, there’s a lot of discussion among black women about what is considered to be truly natural. There’s umpteen ways to flex one’s “naturalness” from how you wear your hair to what you eat to what kinds of products you use. While these discussions are useful to the extent that we are sharing our diverse opinions with each other, at the end of the day how can anyone else define what is natural to me or to you? We must define that for ourselves.
I urge you all to veer away from any divisive thinking and define natural for yourself, beyond the context of how you wear your hair, eat, dress, etc. What if we all thought of natural as simply being the characteristics that bring out the best in us? As we evolve and grow, these natural characteristics evolve with us. So, what felt natural and authentic to me ten years ago may not feel that way today. Growth and change is natural, isn’t it? Diversity is natural, too.
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Think about the harmony that would exist in the world if we were all intimately in touch with what naturally brings out our best while being confident enough to share it with the world. If we all put these natural characteristics, talents, and gifts to use in this way, they would benefit us while also complementing the harmony that we all wish to see in the world. Unfortunately, we get caught up in trying to define ourselves on someone else’s terms. Am I natural enough? religious enough? successful enough? What about asking ourselves this question – am I ME enough???
Spending all of our time seeking validation from each other slows us down. Instead of giving ourselves fully to our own process, we keep criticizing others and doubting ourselves. What’s natural about that? If we could stop looking for one definition that suits us all (because it doesn’t exist) and trust our own instincts, we’d all experience self-actualization (the achievement of our full potential through creativity, independence, spontaneity, and a grasp of the real world.)
The most valuable gift you can give to the world and to yourself is the natural, unequivocal you.
Question: I’m obviously very opinionated about this idea of embracing what naturally flows from me and this topic often comes up in my writing. Awhile back, a reader on Curly Nikki left the following comment on one of my guest posts about defining what is “good” for yourself:
changing your mind about your appearance so that you accept yourself as you are (physically) is appropriate. we’re all good from a physical characteristic perspective.
but that same logic does not apply to other characteristics – i.e., you may be naturally inclined to murder/rape/pillage – does that mean that “it’s good” and you should just go for it? (I know that’s drastic, but I’m trying get my point across based on your final paragraph).
what usually “flows” from us internally DOES need to be corrected and held up to a moral standard. this has NOTHING to do with how we feel about our hair.
She makes a relevant point.