When I look in the mirror, I see a woman with a large head of hair. Sometimes it behaves and curls right, but other times it protests and does its own thing. Either way, I smile at my reflection and make nice with it, because it’s mine and here to stay. My 3-year-old daughter watches this exchange between me and my reflection. This is our morning ritual while the house scrambles to get ready for the day ahead. Once I move from the mirror, she comes, takes my place and interacts with her reflective twin; smiling and chatting like old friends.
I smile at my reflection and make nice with it, because it’s mine and here to stay.
I made the choice [a personal decision] to go natural four years ago. At the time, I didn’t realize the important stand I was taking or the influence this decision could have on my children. How I see it — this was a declaration of self-love and pride. My hair reflects my personal beauty, and the beauty of my culture and its rich roots. My natural hair provides a story filled with bold colors, vivid smells, and a long list of ancestral ties.
Emboldened by this new perspective, I prepare myself daily to take on the world, hair first. There was a time I wouldn’t dream of wearing my hair curly in my corporate job. That would’ve been too brazen of a move and I certainly thought the world was not ready to see this side of me. That was a look I reserved for more casual settings or during vacation. Those memories make me chuckle. Times have definitely changed.
My mother was a large influence on my confidence. I would watch her get ready, similar to how my daughter now watches me. As a stay-at-home mom, she was still the most chic of all the moms in the school yard. My mother wasn’t afraid to push boundaries with style. She was elegant and trendy. As I think back, she wasn’t doing anything overtly outrageous, but she was no ponytail-and-jeans kind of mom. She would drive me to school every day — hair coifed, lipstick perfectly done, and chin high.
Today, I conquer the world with my hair. I slay dragons and topple mountains with my curls. When my day is through, I go home to find two beautiful children waiting for me with smiles. My son will ask me “Mommy, how was your day” and pat my head. My daughter will motion for me to pick her up and holds me close. She always reaches for my coils, playing with them gently.
My children may not fully understand what I do daily at work or what I endure throughout the day, but what they do know is that their mommy wakes up every day and smiles at herself. They see that I am comfortable with what I see in that mirror. They see that my large head of hair is part of who I am when I walk out of the door. They see that I hold my head up high. What I manifest to them is that I am smart, beautiful, and bold. I am comfortable with who I am and what I look like. I don’t fit the mold for anyone but my own. They too, will grow up and be comfortable with their natural beauty. They will like what they see in the mirror and they, too, will hold their heads high with pride.