The Cut That Changed the World…Maybe

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When I awoke on August 8, 2013, it felt like the day before. How was I to know that the information that would spark some of the most intense debates on standards of beauty that the world had seen since the Black issue of Italian Vogue was happening a few clicks of the computer away. BEYONCÉ HAD CUT HER hair and the world was literally sent into frenzy! Though far from being the first celebrity to do a “big chop”, this was KING BEY and therefore the stakes were higher.  Whether you loved it, hated, thought she should have gone natural, wished she dyed it a darker color, or wondered if weave sales would plummet , one thing was certain, you couldn’t go anywhere and find anyone that wasn’t talking about it. “Do you know what this could mean for women everywhere? Women could actually live in the hair they have”, a friend of mine said. Although I wasn’t sure how long the masses would be transfixed on Beyoncé’s hair, I allowed myself a moment to imagine what life would look like if women everywhere were simply HAPPY with what they had.

Having lived in a world of “If you don’t like it, pay to change it “for my entire existence, simply and wholly loving what you have isn’t something that I had ever even considered and if honest about it, most people haven’t. Be it hair, skin, teeth, nose, lips, height, body, at some point in life we’ve all picked at or on something about ourselves that we would have gladly changed or “fixed” given the right financial situation. But what if, by shedding a physical expectation, a standard of beauty she had become synonymous with and simply living and exhibiting beauty in the way SHE saw fit, Beyoncé had freed up the masses to do the same. What would that world look like?

In the weeks to come the conversations would continue until one day it happened, Beyoncé appeared in a weave, far different then the long tresses that had been known for. This was a bob cut and once again, the world was sent into a tailspin and the internet went wild. Where some people felt vindicated, other felt betrayed. Unfortunately, I think most folks missed the point.

The truth is, every day when you rise, you have a choice in exactly the way you are going to be present in the world. The decision to comfortably live in your own skin is a power that you have and guess what? You don’t need ANYONE to tell you how to be. There is nothing wrong with changing up your look as it suits you. The damage is done in changing because you’ve been made to feel as though your natural self is WRONG.

As we transition from Summer to Fall, finding a new look is not uncommon (In fact most of us has it programmed into our minds from grade school). If you are deciding to shake things up a bit, remember as long as you like it, that’s all that matters.

Words by KarynRose Bruyning is a Florida born, New York City based writer. She is the writer/director of the web series, SMOKE AND MIRRORS, and co-owner of Christmas in July 1982. Follow her on Twitter @thekarynrose.

Love Yourself…But How?

Imagine a future where your perception of your own beauty was not filtered through the lens of society’s definition of perfection. How amazing would it be if we all simply embraced the thing that we like best about ourselves without the world around us telling us which features are best? Pretty amazing, right?!  In a society where the emphasis on someone else’s definition of beauty is all around us, most of us have wondered where we fit into this definition or if we even fit in at all.

IMAGINE A FUTURE documents the experiences of a teenage girl by the name of Janet Goldsboro as she works to determine what beauty is for herself. Truly, her story is about finding the beauty in all of us.

Within the first minute and a half, Micheala Angela Davis offers the insight that not only sets the stage for the documentary; it explains the complexity of being a woman and navigating your way through the world. “Love yourself…have high self esteem. How? How do you love yourself? That’s the work.”

Indeed, learning to quiet the outside noise that is the media, your friends, and sometimes even your family, is not an easy feat but it is necessary.

Like Janet Goldsboro, as a teenager, I can remember not feeling comfortable with my looks. I would spend countless hours in the mirror wondering how I would look with a smaller nose (as in the stories of Gabby Douglas and Adepero Oduye, it was often suggested that I get a nose job) and thinner lips. I hated my curly hair that to this day won’t stay straight for all of the heat in all the world. I would try to push in my hips in because no one had explained to me that they were coming and at the time being “shapely” had not yet become an a widely acceptable thing to be. Not only did I not look like anyone in the media, I didn’t look like anyone else in my family and took many years to embrace what I had as not only good enough but pretty dope.

We, as women need to sculpt our own idea of beautiful to fit ourselves. It is only then that true love of one’s self can begin. Instead of looking at yourself and seeing what isn’t quite up to the standard of beauty that has been set by someone outside of yourself, grab a mirror, look at yourself, pick something(s) you like about yourself.

Take a sheet of paper and make a list of the things that you do well and don’t be afraid to say that you make the best macaroni and cheese in your family.

Eliminate negative self talk and engage in Radical Acts of Self Love. Paint your nails, style your hair, wear your favorite color, anything. Just make sure you do something to show yourself how special you are to YOU.

IMAGINE A FUTURE begins a conversation that has long needed to be had. Whether you are young like Janet Goldsboro or a full grown woman, you have to know that you have value and you have to tell yourself how special you are. One day the world will catch up and even if they don’t , you won’t be bound by anyone’s limitations because you know how amazing you really are.

Words by KarynRose Bruyning is a Florida born, New York City based writer. She is the writer/director of the web series, SMOKE AND MIRRORS, and co-owner of Christmas in July 1982. Follow her on Twitter @thekarynrose.