love, life, and the pursuit of liberation
As I get older (wiser) I feel less compelled to fit myself neatly in a box. I remember the beginning of this transition when i was in college and had a really ugly encounter at a people of color leadership retreat. As I was being ripped for being a “pedophile” and “blasphemous” for daring to be a gay christian (at the time), I realized that skin color wasn’t enough of a uniting force; I no aligned myself with people who wouldn’t mutually support *me* in all my intricacies.
My next growth spurt occurred as I contemplated my relationship with God and religion. I realized that I couldn’t belong to an organization (the Christian church) whose beliefs didn’t resonate in my soul and taught me to be ashamed of my feelings and the way that God created me. As I dug deeper, I felt more at peace and in-tune with Buddhist philosophy. But even still, I know that part of my journey is just beginning.
Recently, I’ve been on this hair fence, contemplating about my identity as napptural vs. natural. For the first time in a looooooong time, I can honestly say that it aint that deep anymore for me. I haven’t chemically altered my hair in at least 13 years, and I have no intention to ever again. However, for the past 5 years I’ve been part of a community that frowned upon using heat and other tools to straighten one’s hair, as it’s supposedly is a capitulation to white standards of beauty. As I sit back from the discussion, I am reminded that black hair is beautiful and diverse in all of its forms, especially natural hair that can go from praising the sun with its outstretched strands to dancing in the wind with it’s straightened stresses. I can no longer automatically think that straightened hair is about having an inferiority complex no more than having natural hair is about being superior. For me, it’s about how healthy your hair and your mindset is. I’m not going to feel guilty for wanting to flat iron my hair. Truth be told, it’s easier on my hair during the winter than subjecting my hair in its natural state to the wind and elements.
I welcome the continued growth that this phase in my life brings. I welcome not giving a damn about what each of my identities says I should be. I welcome chipping away at the granite to reveal the masterpiece that lies beneath. I welcome my liberation.