What Judging my Hair Says about You

Emelda De Coteau
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Emelda De Coteau

Mother, wife, sister, friend, writer / blogger / creative organizer, budding photographer... These are just a few of the many hats I juggle each day. I believe creativity is oxygen for the soul. I created Live In Color blog to celebrate the beauty in every moment, from faith to inspiration and motherhood.And it is soon becoming Pray with Our Feet blog which will focus on the intersection of faith and activism. Follow the inspiration on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/praywithourfeetblog/
Emelda De Coteau
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Photo credit: Carrie Mae Weems

“I will not have my life narrowed down. I will not bow down to somebody else’s whim or to someone else’s ignorance.”

 bell hooks

If you are a woman of color, no matter how you style your hair, someone will be offended. Rock a perm? You have no idea who you are. Love your weaves? Well, you just don’t love your hair. Embrace your natural hair texture? Some women and men of color label it as unattractive. Everyone, it seems, has an opinion on women of color and our hair.

This topic remains a staple in conversations with my girlfriends, Mom, co-workers, and of course at beauty salons across America, and no doubt, around the world. Countless books by renowned authors such as bell hooks, and profound visual artists like Carrie Mae Weems address how beauty for women of color is defined in a Eurocenteric and patriarchal culture.

The Afrocentric among us view loving our natural hair as a panacea to the lack of self love. If we begin by understanding history, and reject the chains of self hatred, we can change so much in our community, they proclaim.

Folks on the other side of the argument articulate, at times, a kind of historical amnesia. It’s just hair, they scream. How I choose to wear my hair has little to do with white supremacy, racism, capitalism, or any other ism. This of course ignores the real impact of colonization on the collective psyches of people of color.

Still, for me, both of these perceptions are somewhat limited; human nature and our view of ourselves is richly complex with multiple layers. Any kind of fundamentalism, which by its nature must define one or several kinds of behaviors as wrong, limits our humanity and freedom to empathize with others.

When you place me in a box, because I do not adhere to your myopic definition of beauty or self acceptance, you speak volumes about yourself, and a need to define an “other” as inferior to your “enlightened state.”

We are all on a journey of self love, whether you are walking along that road with an Afro or weave, it remains a journey none the less. My way is not your way, but why is that wrong? Rants never produce more understanding, only greater division.

Live In Color – Emelda

Photo Credit: Emelda  De Coteau
Photo Credit: Emelda
De Coteau

Reclaim Your Space

Emelda De Coteau
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Emelda De Coteau

Mother, wife, sister, friend, writer / blogger / creative organizer, budding photographer... These are just a few of the many hats I juggle each day. I believe creativity is oxygen for the soul. I created Live In Color blog to celebrate the beauty in every moment, from faith to inspiration and motherhood.And it is soon becoming Pray with Our Feet blog which will focus on the intersection of faith and activism. Follow the inspiration on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/praywithourfeetblog/
Emelda De Coteau
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Photo Credit: Photo Flavr
Photo Credit: Yoga blog on Tumblr

God has a sense of humor. I’m convinced! Here I am contemplating the notion of reclaiming space as a new Mom, with a full time career, graduate school and weekly blogging schedule. Who told me I should I even consider space? What? She gets a moment to herself?

Yet space is critical to personal growth, peace and joy. If we allow those around us to obliterate our physical, mental and spiritual space with their demands, eventually bitterness and resentment arise within us.

Saying no is liberating, particularly in an age of frequent communication from social media, email and text messages; everything, it seems, demands our full attention; instant responses to questions and concerns are not only desired, they are expected. “Didn’t you see my text from two minutes ago?” “Are you upset with me?” “I didn’t hear back?” Sound familiar?

Yes is infinitely easier because many of us are addicted to people pleasing, convinced our self worth is linked with other’s perceptions. How often do you check to see if someone liked your status on Facebook or is following you on Twitter? Increasingly, our culture fosters a constant need of approval from others. Yet small step by small step, day by day, we must reaffirm our worth by embracing the courage to say no.

Unplug it all from time to time! Turn off your cell phone, step away from the computer, and breath. Begin to become clear about your priorities. Does your family take precedence in this moment? Return your friend’s call after tending to your own household matters.

My recent conversation with a friend reiterated this lesson of self love. Reclaiming space is not selfish, it’s a necessary element to evolving into a whole and free human being. Our responsibilities no longer control us, we prioritize, and again begin by saying one word: NO.

Live In Color – Emelda
 

 

Own Your Mess

Emelda De Coteau
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Emelda De Coteau

Mother, wife, sister, friend, writer / blogger / creative organizer, budding photographer... These are just a few of the many hats I juggle each day. I believe creativity is oxygen for the soul. I created Live In Color blog to celebrate the beauty in every moment, from faith to inspiration and motherhood.And it is soon becoming Pray with Our Feet blog which will focus on the intersection of faith and activism. Follow the inspiration on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/praywithourfeetblog/
Emelda De Coteau
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If you want to transform the mess in your life, you have to own it. We have to admit to all of our impatience, defensive tendencies, depression, hopelessness, anger, and self deprecating speech. It is your mess to clean up.

Examine your suppressed emotions and habits which may be easier to define as character traits. Take a step back. There is difficult internal work ahead. Denial of your mess prolongs its stay, maliciously eating away at your progress, freedom and joy. Ownership is arduous, its a brutal business this honesty.

From birth, Western culture encourages perfection: disguise the flaws, whether physical or emotional, at any cost. Some people spend their lives hiding from truth, with full growth arrested by an inability or unwillingness to face themselves.

Freedom is possible, but it takes effort, a kind of relentless truth telling. Day by day, moment by moment. The journey is never ending, but our determination and commitment will lead us to another reality imbued with fulfillment and promise.

What habits are holding you back? Have you taken ownership? If not, consider how it would transform your life.