If you know me personally, or perhaps even from flipping through my Facebook or Instagram photos, it’s very seldom that I wear my natural hair. Before I get too far, it’s important to add that by natural I mean my hair in it’s natural state, not straightened, pressed, or hot curled.
I personally love wearing extensions, not because of any insecurities I have about my natural hair, but just because I like going from 22′ inches of hair to a layered bob and back again in the same month. I enjoy having the option of changing my hair length, color, and style when I want to- all while protecting my natural hair!
Moreover, this week I have been rocking a halo braid on my natural hair, allowing my hair to take a break from sew-ins, so during a pageant appearance today, I wore both my natural hair and a crown for the very first time.
I’ll admit, I was rather hesitant, because I always take photos at appearances with long hair, I was unsure of how people would react or if they would even recognize me. In the days leading up to this appearance it took everything in me not to call up my stylist and get extensions back in.
Yet, I decided to stay with my braid.
After passing out awards on stage at the YWCA En Pointe Spring Dance Recital, I proceeded to the gallery where I was to greet guests and pose for photos. Like normal, I was able to interact, laugh, and even take a few selfies with the young ladies from the dance academy and their families.
While heading out the door, a mother and daughter approached me and inquired about my crown. The little girl asked me is my crown heavy, and I reply, “Sorta kind, but I’m pretty used to it!” After a few photos together and inquiring about her performance, her mother grabbed my hand and said, “I know you may not know how much of an impact you have on these girls, but I think it’s great that you are embracing your natural hair. Thank you for being a great influence to my daughter.”
Truthfully, I never thought of the message I am sending to little girls, and more so little girls that looked like me, when showing up at appearances in makeup, long hair, and fancy dresses. I’ve often been called a Barbie Doll or princess, yet I want to ensure to these young ladies that they are beautiful and underneath all of this, is me, what really matters.
Once more, I am reminded that being a title holder is far more than a crown and the competition, as there are so many looking up to you, at all times. We are constantly and unknowingly sending messages to others (especially kiddos), whether positive or negative.
Today I realized that I speak to young women weekly about the importance of embracing themselves and being confident in themselves. Yet, there are times when I didn’t live up to that myself.
Today, I am able to rejoice in the fact that I was able to impact the life of another, yet also will continue to challenge myself to embrace me!