Aspire To Be Yourself

My hair journey has been an outward expression of my internal growth. As a young girl, my mother would always do my hair before I went out anywhere. She took great pride in the appearance of her 9 children. With 5 daughters, it usually took my mom a full day to get our hair to look “right” and so Saturday was usually hair day. She spent the mornings washing/conditioning and the evenings pressing and curling our hair (no electric flat irons… only pressing combs and curling irons heated over an open flame). Sunday morning, just in time for church, our hair was whipped! Nice and neat… not a single nappy strand of hair in sight.

“Nappy” is a term used to describe the state of someone’s hair usually not in a positive way. It basically means messy but especially is used in association with extremely tight curl patterns. My hair naturally grows as THE tightest curl pattern (4C hair)… which means basically my hair is intrinsically “nappy”. My mother wanted her daughters to be refined and respected in this world and so she did everything in her power to get our “nappy-ness” under control.

I grew up with this idea engrained into my psychology, the idea that to be acceptable in this world, I can’t be nappy. Ideally, this wouldn’t have been a problem, it’s not like I wanted to be nappy… I actually disliked it quite a bit… I preferred to have straight hair like the white girls I saw on TV commercials and billboards. It seemed so easy for them to be presentable, an outcome that for me took an entire day of washing, conditioning, detangling, drying, and pressing, for them probably just took 30mins. God forbid we ever missed hair day… I didn’t even like going outside to play with nappy hair.. how was I going to make it through the week?!?!

I had so many insecurities surrounding my hair, insecurities that my Mother carried were passed on to me and she probably got them from her mother and really it was passed on for generations ever since our people arrived in slave ships on the docks of America. The insecurities that come when the very essence of who you are does not match the description of what society deems worthy of respect. Like most Black women in America, I was trained that worthiness was something that I had to become and earn. You can’t just show up “As Is” and expect to be anybody in this world. You gotta conform to the culture of society.

Eventually, I grew to an age where I was responsible for doing my own hair and quite frankly I was not good at managing it which meant more insecurities. As a teenager, I learned how to use a flat iron (which was way easier than a pressing comb), and I also learned the magic of wigs and weave. My hair was usually burnt from all the ironing. I kept my hair nice and straight whenever going to school. Ohh and once I found the perfect wig that had just the right texture, everyone genuinely thought my hair grew 20inches overnight… it looked so real and I loved how my hair was down my back! I held onto that wig for dear life, as if my security and identity was bundled up inside of that wig.

I was 20 years old when I decided that I didn’t like how ashamed I was of myself/real hair. I ditched the wig and weaves… I also kicked the flat iron to the curb. I could no longer fit my short, damaged, tightly curled hair into a ponytail. So I just let it be. Every day felt like a protest. I felt as if I was serving notice to myself and to the world that I would no longer live by a false narrative. I forced myself to accept a new narrative… a narrative from God that says I am worthy just the way He made me. Even if my hair was indeed nappy… it doesn’t change my worthiness.

I decided to accept myself and stop waiting on other people. Honestly speaking, why should you accept me if I don’t even accept me?

Another narrative I chose to believe was this idea that I get to dictate to the world a new description of what society must deem as worthy. I started believing I was an exception to the rule and that if I wanted, I could be both “nappy” AND successful … and then I made up my mind I was gonna change the rules once I reached success.

My dear mother poured her whole heart into setting us up to be respectable and acceptable according to the standards of this world. Little did she know, she was actually setting us up to help redefine that very standard of WHAT and WHO deserves to be respected. We are a part of the wave of influencers that are demanding that our images and culture be authentically portrayed through media. If we can find the courage to be ourselves …. then there’s hope for the little black girl in Detroit Michigan that thinks her existence is too nappy and must be contained. You are worthy just as you are little girl. May you aspire to be yourself.

Love,

Victory

P.S…. currently I’m at a place where I’m free to wear my hair in whatever style I feel at the moment. Mostly I feel like wearing my Afro because I LOVE it so much and I know what it symbolizes. Sometimes you’ll catch me with braids or a wig.. or both lol. It really depends on the day! The difference now is that it’s all from a place of freedom and not insecurity.

19 Comments
  • Robert Petty
    Posted at 03:25h, 20 August Reply

    You are beautiful and your hair is gourgus .I love you and thank you for all that you have accomplished.

  • Katrina
    Posted at 03:38h, 20 August Reply

    ❤️ THANK YOU FOR BEING YOUR AUTHENTIC SELF! YOUR FAMILY IS BEAUTIFUL!

  • Preet Sehmi
    Posted at 09:00h, 20 August Reply

    Love your music n wish you all the best. Your siblings singing together is also lovely n super harmonic.

  • Preet Sehmi
    Posted at 09:02h, 20 August Reply

    You’re great n love your style n music.

    Your siblings harmonizing together is also fab!!

    Look fwd to more tunes…

    P.

  • Miranda syp
    Posted at 10:30h, 20 August Reply

    ♥️💜💕

  • Libby Holden
    Posted at 14:11h, 20 August Reply

    This song has gone straight to my heart.

  • Kristin Lescalleet
    Posted at 14:20h, 20 August Reply

    Great word! And honestly, this is applicable to everyone, every race, every color. I always hated my hair because it’s very thin. I always wanted thick, luxurious hair. Somewhere along the way I really learned about what it means to have my new identity in Christ. I started telling myself that I’m a “King’s daughter!”This truth made all the difference. I started having fun with my hair as a symbol of my freedom from being controlled by it. So through the years I have played with all sorts of fun colors! And the great part about my thin hair is that it takes color easily. All of us are unique and somehow, in our own way, I believe this brings glory to God.

  • natalie aiello
    Posted at 15:33h, 20 August Reply

    Beautiful… you and what you shared

  • Pam Estes
    Posted at 15:46h, 20 August Reply

    I have extremely straight hair & spent my teenage years perming it to be curly! We all look at trends & try to be “more” or “like” some worldly standard. God looks on our hearts & I’m thankful for your amazing example of being who God wants you to be & being joyful in it 🥰

  • LaVonne
    Posted at 18:10h, 20 August Reply

    It’s so funny you bring this up…. I always HATED my hair, because I was that little skinny white girl with stick straight hair….the one that people envied because my hair was so long and thick and straight…without a ton of work. BUT: My mother thought that “to look pretty”, hair needed to be curly. SO: We went through similar processes each Saturday…she would wash and detangle…spray conditioner and start curling…it took forever, and it HURT! I would even sleep in those stupid pink foam rollers to be presentable for church on Sunday mornings…. Funny thing: My hair wouldn’t even HOLD the curl…no matter how hard she worked on it, my hair had a little rebellious mind of its own and would NOT hold curl for more than an hour or two. She decided to outsmart my hair and made me start getting perms by the age of 11, to try and “help it hold the curl better”…. This was a continual pattern for many years. I wasn’t good enough…I wasn’t pretty enough…I wasn’t acceptable because my hair wouldn’t curl.
    She even forced me to get a perm only a week prior to my wedding day!! I was humiliated…a new bride who was embarrassed to wash her hair because I was afraid of what my newly wed husband would think of the smell of my hair.
    Well, that was 27 years ago…and, thankfully, my husband could have cared less what my “natural” hair looked like…he LOVED ME for ME. I never got another perm….and, funnily enough, after the birth of my second child 15 years ago, my natural hair texture changed a ton and started to curl…. NOW, at almost 50 years old, I am embracing the natural grays/silvers AND the curl! The FREEDOM to just be who you are is immense and quite exhilarating! (And, my mother still thinks it looks horrible…even though NOW I have natural curl….go figure!!….but, I don’t care any more….I am FREE to be ME.)

  • JennyG
    Posted at 18:24h, 20 August Reply

    Beautiful, thank you for sharing.

  • Tootie Maldonado-Ellman
    Posted at 19:31h, 20 August Reply

    So well spoken. I’m sorry you’ve felt and have had others feelings projected on to you. You are so wise beyond your years and I’m happy for you that you are figuring all this out at 20. I’ll be 51 and I’m just now unfolding layers of “trauma” that I had no idea were even there. You’re such a wonderful example to all girls.

    ps, I enjoy your families music so much. Your harmonies really touch me.

  • Elisa Fronapfel
    Posted at 21:54h, 20 August Reply

    Hi. I’m one of those white girls with perfectly straight hair that seemed easy to do. Not so much. It’s flat, gets oily easily as it’s fine and blond and is stick straight! I can’t speak to your feeling that my hair was more “acceptable” than yours as that wasn’t my experience. I can say that there was an African American woman who worked in the same office as my Dad when I was little. She wore her hair in an Afro and I thought it was the coolest hair do ever…and I knew there was no way I’d ever attain it 🙂. We each come with insecurities, frequently passed down by our parents trying to pave our paths to be a little easier. My Mama always asked me, “would you change who you are? If not, then I can’t help you. Accept who you are and be that person!.”

    I never know these days if my words will be taken as I intend… everyone seems to struggle with basic communication. My only intent here is that your words struck me, and I’m happy for you that you love your hair. It suits you and you should feel beautiful!

    I’ve enjoyed listening to your music and wish you continued success. Peace.

  • Kathy Hollett
    Posted at 14:21h, 21 August Reply

    My seven year old daughter has the same curl pattern. She sometimes feels frustrated with her hair not being long. About two weeks ago she made a comment about being the frustrated that her hair doesn’t grow fast. I reminded her “You and Victory have the same hair and it’s gorgeous”. She beamed the most sincere smile and straightened up with pride. She loves you and your music. We all do. Add to that… she SEES your hair and it’s beauty and it leaves a marked impact on how she sees herself.

  • Kathy Williams
    Posted at 17:19h, 22 August Reply

    I love your story! You are simply magical and lovely. I have had dreads for 30 years. Once I started going gray over 15 years ago, I began dyeing my hair. Recently, stress, aging, and the coloring have thinned my hair significantly in the crown, and I had to make the decision to stop dyeing it. So, the gray is growing in…and I’m working on owning it. A challenge, but daily I am beginning to see the beauty in it. I’m 63.
    I also want you to know that this song and your voice was a perfect comfort and encouragement to me during this pandemic, including the full version with your scripture reading. I listened to it constantly. THANK YOU SO MUCH! I am so thankful that you are you.

  • Sharon Nyamvula
    Posted at 11:57h, 02 September Reply

    I kept hearing your voice as I read this! You are such a beautiful person! Not only physically, but you just sound so beautiful!!!

  • Jenny Casey
    Posted at 14:23h, 27 September Reply

    Thank you for all you share with the world. Your courage, your vulnerability, your passion, and your music! What a gift, what a blessing YOU are! So glad to have found you on Facebook. Many blessings to you and yours!!

  • Alanna
    Posted at 06:15h, 10 December Reply

    I seriously LOVE YOU! You are so special!

  • J. Molloy
    Posted at 16:48h, 11 January Reply

    Thank you for sharing this journey. I have two daughters with similar hair, one with 4c. I’ve invested los of time trying to properly care for their specific types and learn (so I can teach them) how to love and care for their beautiful hair. The weaves sure fo make it easier to protect and keep from tangling at school, etc. I absolutely live it when it’s down in its most natural state, but cannot figure out how to do that and keep it well hydrated and detangled. In any case, we try and on the days/weeks in between styles, we really really enjoy being totally natural. Thank you again for your gift of transparency and for spreading so much love with your life and platform.

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