The World According to Humphrey

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My new standard of beauty.

Posted by humphreysworld on November 15, 2010

I love Millionaire Matchmaker Patti Stanger, but according to her, I don’t stand a chance at finding love.  For a few reasons according to her, but one of them being my curly, short hair. And as a black woman, well, I guess I’m totally screwed.  As of one week ago, I have shed my last damaged hair for the last time! That’s right, I am wearing my natural, curly hair.

So what’s the big deal? Well if you’re black I don’t have to answer this question for you. It is drilled into our heads all throughout our lives that our ‘nappy’ hair isn’t good enough. And not just by today’s unrealistic standards of beauty. This shit started a long time ago. If they weren’t telling us to straighten our hair they were telling us to lighten our skin. And that message is still shoved in our faces today-sometimes even by our own kind, or maybe even our own mind.

Never in my life did I imagine I would come to this place. I grew up in CA in 80’s and went to school with predominantly white students. So I didn’t really even know what natural hair was. My family would always press my hair with a hot comb, and since every other black girl around me was the same way I didn’t know there was another way. Yet in the back of my mind, I told myself that in order to fit in, I had to have hair just like everyone else. What else was I to believe in a world of pretty girls with light/white skin and long hair getting attention and Sassy & 17 magazines showing me faces and hair that looked nothing like my own? I’ve never really been one to have long hair (unless I purchased it), but even short hair was ‘better’ than curly hair.

In the last couple of years, I’ve noticed all the hoops I’ve jumped through to have straight hair were coming back to haunt me. There was the damage to my hair line from braids that were a little too tight, the continued breakage of hair beyond typical shedding, and not to mention the cost. And perhaps it was that with a I-don’t-give-a-hoot attitude I managed to rekindle after age 35, but I decided enough was enough. February of 2010 was my last chemical relaxer. Instead I chose a brazilian blowout treatment to soften my hair while I decided what I wanted to do with it. But one thing was clear to me- I was done with chemicals once and for all. During the summer I put a weave in my hair to combat D.C.’s unforgiving humidity which allowed me to not only escape the heat, but to grow my hair and spare it from heat from a flat iron. After 2 months I took the hair out and felt nice, thick, healthy, nappy hair. And then and there I decided my next step was going to be the BC.

Drum roll please…..

When I first cut off my relaxed hair, I cried. I cried in part because of years of self loathing, of no longer fitting into those standards of beauty that were never really meant for us anyway, for saying goodbye to my comfort zone. The other part was sheer joy. Joy at seeing how beautiful black hair can be. On ME. And it was liberating. Perhaps I’ve cut a pool of potential suitors out of my life, perhaps the next job offer will elude me- so be it. I feel good in my skin, and I am going to celebrate it.


6 Responses to “My new standard of beauty.”

  1. Anita said

    You look radiant, Dionna! Beautiful post and photos!

  2. Thank you Anita!

  3. The Yapper said

    You remind me of that India Arie song….sometimes I shave my legs and sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I comb my hair and sometimes I won’t. Rock what makes you special!

  4. Gwen said

    Hey, I just found this post today on WordPress and it sucks that happened to you. Weaves braid lol all damage Black Womans hair. And dont think because us light skinned/mixed girls are being praised. I am mixed, 15 and dont get praised I am raised by my black mom. And like you I get discriminated because my skin isnt white enough or lips arent thin enough or hair isnt straight enough… Excuse my language but I say fuk it lol!!! I have nappy hair and moving on with it!!!


    • Thanks Gwen for your comments! Being natural is a route that isn’t for everyone, and it took me some time to come to this point. And I don’t knock anyone who relaxes or braids/weave their hair, because they need to go through their own hair journey. But I am happy I’ve made the choice, and I’m looking forward to seeing it grow and flourish!

  5. Rose said

    haha I love that comment: “sometimes I shave my legs and sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I come by hair and sometimes I won’t.” I’m gonna look that up. That’s totally me. I haven’t combed my hair before work in maaaaaaybe the entire time I’ve been employed there! hahaha.

    Oh, and great post, Dionna! You go! You look fantastic and beautiful and glowy.

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