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Societal Norms

Updated: Aug 15, 2020

I am so happy I learned what makes me feel beautiful before I entered adulthood.

It is crazy how many side comments and microaggressions I receive about things on MY body that we only dislike because society has told us to. And nothing irritates me more than the, “I could never” comments. Because yeah, you couldn’t because you’re not me.

The two main things people always comment on are my hair and nails. Especially white people – they love sharing their unnecessary opinions.

I’ve been natural for about seven years. My hair changes pretty often, like it does for most women in the black community. When my hair is in it’s natural element, I always receive comments on how short it is, I’m asked why I don’t style my hair, people comment on how they could never go natural or manage my hair. When it’s straightened, people comment on me damaging my hair, or ask why my hair isn’t that long in it’s natural element (dummies), or why don’t I keep it straight all the time. When I get braids I’m asked why do I wear braids if I have long hair, are they heavy, and people tell me how they could never sit that long. And these are always from people with the absolute worst hairstyles.

And if anyone knows me, if you say something that I don’t like, I just won’t acknowledge you. I was called rude for that yesterday. I am not required to give anyone validation about the way I look. And when it comes to my hair and nails, I just hear so many comments that I’m completely over it.

I hateeee when people comment on my nails though. The main question is ALWAYS, “How do you function with those things?”. I function well, and easily, thank you for your concern. I can still type, wipe my butt, live my life. My nails are an extension, not a limitation. Or when people like my nails, and always show me their nails – but theirs are ugly. Or when people criticize how much I pay but their nail polish is chipped.

When I was in high school, I kept my nails short. I made sure they were painted every single day. When I worked at Starbucks, I made sure my nails were still presentable. I only wore long nails for special occasions – because even though my peers liked my nails, adults ALWAYS had negative comments. When I first went natural, I twisted my hair every single day. It wasn’t popular to be natural in 2012, I was mocked and made fun of a lot. I tried to keep braids as often as I could, but I loved my hair. I barely, if ever, wore it in it’s natural element.

And what’s worse is when balding people tell you what to do with your hair as if they kept up with theirs – that was shade. I just had to throw it in there for the old woman in the back that keeps tabs on everything I do.

I love how diverse my hair is and how long my nails are. I think it keeps me unique in the professional field I work in. I think it keeps me young because I work in a field that ages people quickly. And if I would not have accepted myself before entering the adult world, I’d be just as bitter as all the people that comment on my hair and nails every chance they get.

My norm is not your norm. And that’s okay.

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