“Try New Things!” Finding yourself in places you’d never go.

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As I sit here and graduation approaches I think….

Where am I going to be this time next year? Where is my mindset going to be? What struggles will I face? Who will be on my journey who was not there before and who flew with the winds?

 

This morning I woke up at 6am worried about my best friends and all of the trials and tribulations they face. I prayed for them and their families but most of all I prayed for myself to be the strength for them in their season of frailness.

 

At 7am the sun beams in my room against my disco ball …I open the blinds to allow the light to take me over and in this instant I realize how beautiful life is. Then I think of John Legend’s song “All of Me” but the version I was listening to was featuring violinist Lindsey Stirling. There is just something about an instrument singing that made my heart tremble. I broke down crying because I’m 22 and I realized, I’m BLESSED. The way my life is set up I can fail over and over again but I’ve met some of the greatest people and truest friends in college that I can lean on whenever I please. My Grandfather once told me, “If you can meet at least two good friends in life then you are blessed” and I must say God gives in abundance; when you ask you shall receive.

 

As the song plays and my mind goes everywhere, I realize that the sun makes everything look soo beautiful but there is much scrutiny placed on darkness. Is darkness bad? I beg to differ….the light allows one to see, whereas the darkness allows you to feel . That’s why when we kiss we close our eyes, because in that moment you seeing what’s in front of you doesn’t matter, it’s about how that person makes you feel in that instant, whether it’s a female or male. Not only is darkness beautiful but the rainy days is what makes the sunny days worth it…if there was no rain how could things grow and blossom? And just like our lives there will be rainy days but how will you take care of yourself? The family I used to nanny for once told me that the way a person takes care of their car and cleanliness of it tells a lot about a person. Me being young at the time I didn’t really understand it. But I’ve recently started really taking care of my car and spending more “me” time and I realized the way invest in my car is the way I invest in myself.

 

But after the car theory, I realized how beautiful I was despite what people have said in my past and even in my present. While in college my friend participated in a pageant called Miss Black and Gold hosted by the men of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated. She could not find anyone to help her and at the time we weren’t really friends, more of associates. I knew how to do hair, make-up and knew I was a great cheerleader, so I told her to look no longer, not knowing her from Adam or Eve, and I would be her pageant mom. I helped her study, helped her with her speech and calmed her down during times of doubt. Needless to say she won 3rd place, receiving the title Miss 1906. The next year flew by and she wanted me to participate in the pageant and I kept saying “NO,” I was not beautiful enough to participate in a pageant, I can’t walk in heels and I was pledging for Delta Phi Omega Sorority, Incorporated in the Fall so I didn’t have time to participate in her shenanigans. So once again time passed and I gained confidence in speech, spitting out facts and being intellectually confident whether I was right or wrong. Time continued to pass and here I am senior year and this same friend tried to recruit me to do the pageant and I gave her the same excuses of why I would not participate. I believed pageants were anti-feminist, placing women on a stage allowing men to see their bodies and judge an “outer” beauty that has been euro-centralized. And there was a bathing suit scene? Oh helllllll NOOOOOO, I am not participating in that.

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To Go Natural is To Be Nappy to Assimilate is to be Professional and Happy.

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“I am going to strongly encourage you to consider the school’s request and at least shape or have her hair cut. That I believe would resolve the issue,” said Pastor Carl Stephens in an email to the parents of the victim, Vanessa VanDyke (CNN). Image

 

Vanessa VanDyke of Orlando, Florida is a private school student at Faith Christian Academy and was constantly bullied by many of the other students for her ‘natural hair.’ The only solution that was brought to VanDyke to fix the problem of the teasing from the other students was for her to compromise herself to satisfy the student body, instead of the students being apprehended for their discriminatory prejudice behavior.

 

The issue lies in the fact that the first reaction of the school was for the student to fix her “flaw,” not for the bullies to neither refrain nor learn from their prejudice behavior. Because VanDyke is presented as not assimilating to the white American culture, her image comes into question instead of the gazers eyes that have been placed upon her. According to CNN, the school’s student handbook says that students’ hair must be a natural color and must not be a distraction. The mother of VanDyke, Sabrina Kent said, “A distraction to one person is not a distraction to another…you can get a kid come in with pimples on his face. Are you going to call that a distraction?”

 

The consequences of the victimized child was that she was given one week to either make the decision to “tame” her hair and remain at the school, or keep the hair and leave the private school. Then several days later, due to the attention of the issue and backlash of the surrounding black community, the school took back their ultimatum of expulsion however VanDyke was still presented with the option to keep her hair under the consequences of having to relocate to a different school. However, according to a statement sent from the school, “ We are not asking her to put products in her hair or cut her hair. We are asking her to style her hair within the guidelines according to the school handbook.”

 

America is teaching the child ways of non-verbal required assimilation. The question then becomes; is it really a melting pot, or is the melting pot just not hot enough for right now? The truth is, more often than not this kind of incident occurs. Thus, to question if this is a normal behavior by society is out of the question. There has always been a yearning for assimilation to the white culture within every “American” culture. It’s more common to hear an employer tell their employee that they must cut their hair or “tame” it, especially among those of Afro-decent in order to work for a certain company because the hair doesn’t “look” professional.

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