Black female college student is barely in her first month in school when a white classmate reaches over to touch her hair and says “Must you always look so pretty?” A loaded question for any chocolate girl growing up in today’s society. This isn’t going to be a black girls versus white girls blog. So calm your nerves way down.
It’s In Us
Call it a Pan-African thing, but no matter where women of African descent call home today, there is something within each of us that harkens back to our roots. I recall flipping through National Geographic as a child, seeing the women with elongated necks coiled with raw metal; of ears that dropped to shoulders heavy with gold; of clothing that made our skins the perfect backdrop for every color under the skin. Black women have NEVER met a color that didn’t like us. So…yeah we do pretty really well.
It’s Through Us
Today I sat and unabashedly watched an older woman with gray hair. I marveled at her smooth skin. There were no crows feet roosting on her face and no laugh lines renting space. She and so many of her generation make me eager to age–and to age oh so graciously. Her visage tells me that she’s lived a good life, she’s been loved and she has loved well. It speaks of a life that’s been lived in moderation, where excess is a stranger.
It’s About Us
I may not have grown up buying clothes from the top shelf stores but I knew that I couldn’t come out the house looking any kind of way. I had clothes for every occasion and was discouraged from blurring the lines. Clothes were ironed every Sunday of the week before being put in the closet. My first roommate couldn’t understand why I ironed my jeans and t-shirts. She was white. I gave her that. It’s a Black thing.
It’s In Us
My mom was recently hospitalized and was ready for discharge. When I asked if she wanted to wear the clothes she came in, you may as well have stuck a knife in her heart and turned it. No Black woman, no matter how low she has been brought will think to walk out looking less than the best. So your girl had to drive all the way back to the house and actually make sure that I found a skirt and top that “matched”.
It Is Us
I stopped making apologies for being mindful of my appearance a long time ago. There are those who are perfectly comfortable coming out the house looking any kind of way. I was never one of them. I’m mindful not to let it get in the way of living and relating to others, but what I look like is part of who I am. So yes being pretty, looking pretty, feeling pretty is an absolute must.