Let’s set the scene with a quick story…
So I’m at church today. I go to the bathroom, get sidetracked because I find a baby lol. Anyway finally after waiting in the queue for what seemed like 15 minutes (why would they only give women the one bathroom?) I’m finally at the front. Walking out of the cubicle, the obvious next stage is washing my hands (if you don’t know that please go read about c.difficile).
In the women’s bathroom there’s essentially only space for two individuals: one in the cubicle, one by the washing basin. By the time you usually leave the cubicle, the other female is usually finished or at least nearly finished washing her hands. However, on this occasion this woman is still at the basin. There is a mirror above the washing basin. She is not washing her hands. This woman is an aunty, at least old enough to be my mother by a good 10 plus years, so let’s say she’s in her 50s. Instead this woman, is looking into the mirror, with an eyebrow pencil gripped in her left hand, she has a puzzled expression upon her face. She see’s me waiting and scrambles out of the bathroom while saying, ‘sorry I was just trying to draw some eyebrows on’. She leaves before I tell her I can help. This is what church should be about, alongside reaching peoples’ spiritual needs, one should also reach their practical needs. (So if I can help my aunty to draw on her eyebrows, I should… because there’s nothing worse that drawing your eyebrows on wrong!… Okay I can think of a lot that’s worse, but you know what I mean.)
Anyway I just want that story to illustrate how one person, probably somewhere far away from you, can make a decision regarding what’s in and what’s not. Some person someone probably decided that thick eyebrows are in and look at how mad this world is going, after ‘good’ brows. One person decides a certain ‘truth’, leading to a snowball effect. Society then begins pressuring us that this is ‘truth’ and we often internalise this new belief as if we’ve never known any different.
I remember when I started wearing my hair natural. I remember that on one of the first sabbaths I had it out naturally, my sister had her friends around. I recall sitting in the kitchen talking to someone and basically questioning my hair, and saying something along the lines of ‘I’m not sure if it suits me’, ‘it’s too thick’ etc… My cousin walked into the kitchen (I’m not sure if he’ll read this or remember this) but I remember him affirming me, he questioned who told me my hair didn’t suit me. And I remember not having the faintest idea of how I could respond to such a question. But something clicked that day. I started questioning society and who deems what is beautiful and where my confidence should be coming from anyway. (I still don’t know all the answers, and I’m still questioning things).
So I’m writing this, simply to challenge you also. Who told you that you were ugly? Who told you that you couldn’t? Who told you that you needed make-up to make you pretty? Who told you your own eyebrows can’t be cute at least one day of the week? Who told you need to be all muscular? Who told you that you need a thigh gap? Who told you your self-worth was based on social media? Who told you God made mistakes when he made you?
If you’re constantly looking at society to determine your truth, you are simply a product of society and your truth will constantly be changing, just like the direction of the wind. Don’t rely on society to give you an identity. Think for yourself, ask questions, challenge your thinking, grow and learn. Be whom you want to be. Let me leave your with a quote from my uncle…
‘If you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything.’ – Malcolm X