kayla [2 of 2]

Now, that I think about it, I wish that hair wasn’t such a baseline for beauty in our society, for femininity. I’ve constantly rotated through different hairstyles, either to fit specific beauty standards or to simply to keep it “tamed”. Why do I feel the need to have long, flowy hair to feel sexy? Because it’s featured in every single advertisement, tutorial, and image I see. That’s what’s hot. That’s what sells.

The funny thing is, there are moments where I see beautiful, black women comfortable with whatever hairstyle they please – may it be an incredible head of bouncing, natural hair, or a head shaven clean. I see so much beauty in them, making me question the guidelines I follow. In fact, these moments make me proud of my roots – quite literally. It’s not easy to deal with, but maybe the challenge is what should make us learn to appreciate and love ourselves even more.

Most of the time, our biggest battles are internal; ones that we have against ourselves. Many of us think that achieving our appearance goals will solve all our problems but that’s not the case. What we need to do is strengthen our ability to be positive, accept ourselves and most importantly, our background and roots. My suggestion? Surround yourself with people who celebrate you; those who make you forget about your insecurities. It’s so important to value what you have. Try and live the best, healthiest life you can have for yourself and count your blessings. You have so much to be thankful for.

Kayla is from Toronto, Ontario, currently in her final year of her Honours Sociology degree at Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario.

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