Dear Africana Woman,
It’s a new week! I know that you have been crushing it over the last 7 days. I need you to get used to saying it out loud proudly and being celebrated for it with no reservations on both sides, So drop your wins for the week in the comment section and let me celebrate you. Like I’m so ready to cheer you on. Go on let me know.
I went to the barber this weekend, I thought my hair had grown long enough under the blonde hair but instead when they tried to give me a buzz cut I looked like a leopard. So I told them to take it all off, to the shock and horror of the barber. You would think that hair does not grow back. So for two whole days I was bald. Right now it’s more of the buzz cut that I originally envisaged.
So I posted a couple of pictures of my bald head. The reactions around my hair or lack there of in this case always amuse me. Let me see off the top of my head here are some comments that I received:
“Now you are just showing off because you have a nice shape head” hahahaha
“WOW! That is bold” this one got me thinking …
For context sake, once upon a time I had a lot of hair and it was natural. Very black, very long and that was my claim to beauty. It was literally the first thing that many people would notice about me.
People would coo and paw over it like it was an animate object. Anyway, when I decided to cut it off I was going through a journey of reimagining my identity. I was asking myself:
What actually defines beauty? If I did not have my hair could I still be beautiful? Could I still feel beautiful? What does inner beauty actually look and feel like?
Sis I know there is something on your body that is your claim to fame. Could be your smile, your tinsy waist, your legs for days, your velvet skin…It could be anything. But let’s just imagine for a second that you did not have that thing anymore, would you survive? Could you step out the door with confidence? Would you still feel beautiful? Or has that feature become a crutch? Because you would no longer receive validation from the world when they stopped complimenting you about your ‘beautiful feature’. How would that make you feel?
I can only speak about my journey. I am the queen of scarfs. Like I have a large collection in all colours and textures. If you ever want to give me a gift you can never go wrong with a scarf. So when I initially cut my hair I thought that I would end up wearing scarfs to make people around me feel comfortable because of the way they were used to seeing me. Are you hearing this: The people pleaser in me felt it was more important to make other people happy about the way I looked. That is so sad.
I ended up not wearing a scarf. In fact, I rarely wear a scarf post the big chop. Even though I have been called Sir on a number of occasions, I still persist. I remember in the first week of initially cutting my hair off I was at a shopping mall and this random female guard, would not stop giving me compliments about my hairstyle. Talk about a God wink and a boost of courage.
Now I am a Libra. We are vain. We are our own cheerleading squad. Thank you for the help in your compliments, but trust me we got this in our heads. LOL. Nonetheless, this was an exercise of redefining beauty for myself. Like when I looked in the mirror I had to look past what was skin deep and truly see myself. I had silenced the external noise in the form of compliments, because for a second there the world did not know what to make of the transformation. In the silence I would look in the mirror at my reflection and try to decide whether I believed I was beautiful, not based on physical features but on my heart. Whether my intentions in thoughts, words and actions were coming from a genuine place of love. Whether when someone walked away after interacting with me they felt warm and fuzzy. Why? Because love is contagious. Whether my inner glow was connected to God. If you are a Christian you know the scripture says that YOU are the light of the world. Like my goal is to walk in a room and command attention not because of my external features but because of the light that beams out of me. You know how on these reality music shows they say some people have the X-factor. Something intangible that gives them an edge. It’s the same thing here. My X factor is my light.
Easier said than done. And more times than not I fail because your sis is petty & sarcastic. But every day I am given a present, a gift to try again. And I think every day the light grows a little bigger and glows a little brighter. I keep practicing my beauty every day. Wow ain’t that interesting, beauty is a verb and not a noun. It is an action that you must choose to do.
Funny enough boldness is an accidental side effect of choosing beauty. For example in my case when I was bald, some called me bold. In reality, the act of going bald was not a bold statement because I knew the moment was fleeting at best. It was a means to an end. I placed little significance or energy in my temporary external features. This was interpreted as boldness.
To be honest if you find yourself admiring someone else’s boldness, that is your spirit calling you out on not being true to yourself. Check yourself and be honest. What are you afraid to do? There is something that you have been itching to be and do but your fear / self doubt / limiting beliefs (take your pick) are holding you back. Identifying boldness in others is a projection of your fears and reflection of your own insecurities. Literally it’s as if someone has put a mirror up to your face so as you can see your insecurities. What are you going to do about it? Ignore the call or finally defeat the fear?
This seems like a good place to come to an end. Quick reminder, there are two amazing events this week, hosted by the Africana Woman Visionaries. One is a talk called Leading with Courage presented by Linda Kasonde. Click here to sign up. The second is a Networking Virtual Mixer where you will make global business connections. Now for those of you who doubt your networking skills, we have invited Jateya Jones, the best networking coach to train you before we get into it. So this is definitely worth attending. Click here to sign up. Do let me know what you think in the comments. Thank you so much for taking time to read these here scratchings. Do subscribe if you haven’t already and I will make sure you receive a love letter straight in your inbox every week. Connect with me on Instagram @Chulu_byDesign. I love chatting and having a good laugh. Do not forget to also check out the Africana Woman with Chulu podcast where you can listen and learn from other inspiring women just like you. Okie dokie. Babe please love yourself flaws n all and attract the life you truly desire.
Love you a ton,