Dupe Oyebolu
by on September 8, 2016
Beauty has always been a difficult subject for me. Actually, no. This isn’t quite true. This is the more true statement — I have had a difficult relationship with beauty since the year that I was 11 or 12, or 11 and 12 (because really, I cannot quite distinguish those two ages in my head). Somewhere in the midst of trying to maintain complete Integrated Science and Intro Tech notes, and also stay out of the line of every teacher’s cane in JS 2, the word “beauty” and the force of the idea with it,  crept into my heart, made a home there, and began hanging over my head every time I look(ed) in the mirror. Goodness, I cannot tell you how much I miss the days when I only looked in the mirror and simply saw myself, rather than a beautiful or un-beautiful person. When I looked out of necessity and not because I wanted to check to be sure that I did not look too bad to be spoken to. I don’t know that I have ever not left my house because I think I am unattractive, but I know that I have shrunk myself in social settings, not wanting to be noticed because I didn’t want to give anybody opportunity to point out my pimpley face, or sun-burned skin. Because yes, I was that insecure. And actually, on some days, I still am. But I am finding that one of the perks of being natural is that the process of coming to be accepting of my hair in its most unaltered conditions is helping me become better at accepting of myself in all of my unaltered conditions. And something about starting to accept myself in all of my unaltered-ness is transforming my understanding of what is beautiful. I think for most of my life, I had a straight and narrow conception of beauty, it was clear glowing skin, thin lips, straight white teeth, straight hair (whether that which belonged to the wearer or hair extensions. I especially liked short pixie like cuts — I thought there were the best thing since sliced bread, and before I became natural, I was well on my way to wearing my hair in one of those styles). It is not that I no longer see the beauty in people who have these features. God knows that I do, as I should, because I think that they truly are beautiful. But these days I am finding that the images that I find most beautiful are of people who are unadorned. I am especially awed by the beauty of women with brown skin. There is a stirring that happens in my chest every time I see one. It’s like this gentle twisting that I think is my insides responding to a beauty that I am connected to. It’s actually kind of remarkable.  It’s not quite that being natural has made it possible for me to call myself beautiful, but it has made it such that beauty is less and less powerful a force over my head. And because of this new freedom, I am able to see beauty in the most unexpected places, or in the places where I suppose our culture sometimes misses. So I guess, yes, this is one of the big blessings of being natural. That I have formed a bigger sense of beauty, that I am able to see it in all the places that I was clueless to before. Praised be the gods for this. 
Kume Ozoro
Kume Ozoro
Dupe Oyebolu I read it again and this time I couldn't help saying "this is beautiful" out loud.