7.12.2012

|52| Breaking the Cycle...It Starts at Home

Thursday, 7.12.12...

Two posts in the same week?!?  Just feelin' some "inspiration" to share thoughts as they come instead of sitting on them!  

Anywho, I was in the mall a couple of days ago, shopping with a TEENAGER, and a couple of times during the "excursion", found myself sitting outside of store XYZ, waiting and enjoying one of my FAVE hobbies of "people-watching".

Welp, I was sitting on the second level, looking down onto the level below, and noticed a woman (of color) and her children casually walking.  One of the children, a little girl approximately four years old, I particularly took notice of because, not only was she a lil cutie-patootie "chocolate drop" ッ, but was happily skippin' & hopping' alongside, keeping in step with who I assumed was her mama.  I remember smiling because it was just good to see her and her siblings exuding "happy".

HOWEVER, as quickly as I found myself smiling, I immediately noticed a MOUND of hair also bouncing about on her head and back, that did not appear to be "hers".  Her hair was individually braided with extensions that were almost as long as her lil body!  I'm exaggerating a bit, but they were EASILY waist-length.  I then found myself shaking my head and wondering why all that hair was necessary, especially for a child THAT young...it looked SO heavy and over-powering for her small frame.  Then just like that, they were out of my sight, but it still left me concerned in that, at four years old, this is this child's "normal" and though she doesn't even realize it, she's already starting to be conditioned that her hair in its natural state is not acceptable.

A while later, after my shopping buddy & I had ventured back down to the lower level of the mall, again I was sitting and waiting, and see this same family.   My gaze immediately focuses on the little girl with all the hair, STILL happily bouncing around, oblivious to any negativity and extremely carefree.  Though, I still noticed "the hair", I did have the thought of wishing I could be at that "state" again...unbiased by all of life's trials and tribulations and just "being"...OH, to be a kid again!  LOL

Back to "the hair"!!  This is where I have to remind myself to not place fault or judgement on the mother, (sort of), because she obviously has not acknowledged/applied the fact there are ways to care and style a child's hair WITHOUT the use of "other" methods.  However, I can not help but feel the strong need and want for "us" as GROWN women, who have inherently continued the cycle of altering our hair because that is what we were taught, to collectively make steps and efforts to consciously LEARN how to care for "our" children's hair in its natural state versus resorting to "disguises" as THE ultimate and only solution.  So, at the end of it all, even through the JOY I felt seeing their family  interaction, the feeling I felt about "the hair" lingered.  My ultimate take-away was, this adorable lil girl is not being given the opportunity to see the beauty in her authentic self.  The people surrounding this precious lil girl are influencing and encouraging the use of extension hair to define her "cuteness" and decrying her afro-textured curls/coils at the same time.  More importantly, her paradigm of how we as women of color present our "outward" selves to the "world" is being altered at such a young & impressionable age, and she has no control of the shift.  I know, I know, pretty heavy "assessment" considering I was just sittin' around trying do some innocent people-watchin' (cuz folks ARE funny!!  you should try it sometimes!  LOL), but my wandering & inquisitive mind just kinda took over!

*sigh*...well, I'm done with my "observation"...

I keep saying it, though we have a LONG way to go to break the cycle, I will continue to be a "soap-box stander" by sharing information and thoughts, be it in my lil corners of cyber-space and/or random people-interactions, because this effort is important and necessary for our psyche, our health, establishing our OWN standard of beauty, and even the socio-economics of our communities.  (I'll elaborate on those topics in posts to come).  But, yeah, good or bad, it is THAT serious to me.

It really does start with us.  To be impactful in breaking the "negative perception of afro-textured hair" cycle, we have to apply the concept of being mindful of the BIGGER picture at all times.  Everything we do and every decision we make in life has longer-term effects on many levels...somebody is ALWAYS watching, so the key is being AWARE and tailoring your actions accordingly...

I'm done...(for now, anyway!  ッ)
Afro-Texturally Speaking...

CoilyCoiff2010

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