This I Believe

Angenette - raleigh, North Carolina
Entered on April 21, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe in self-worth and individuality. The longing for acceptance often times compels individuals to sometimes seek acceptance in the wrong places. I see this phenomenon everyday in my peers. I am now at the age where I am beginning to shape my own identity. The media is constantly placing images in front of me trying to persuade me into buying hair products, make up, new breast and diet so that I may fit into the image they are selling me. But I refuse to buy into that image.

When I was in high school I was all about being cool. I did whatever it took. I keep up with all the hottest trends, matching from head to foot, from my headband down to my socks. We were a reflection of what we saw on the television. I walked and talked cool. I made fun of other people to build myself up. I did all of this so that I could fit in. After two years of trying to keep up, I realized that I wasn’t happy. I had been ignoring and denying all the things that made me unique. The very people I surrounded myself with didn’t care about me; they were so caught up with being cool they forgot about friendship. Here I was with so many friends but no one knew me personally, I was lonely. I had to stop and ask myself was being cool worth losing myself and why do I feel so lonely if I have so many friends.

I started my journey to self discovery on January 1, 2004. I went from being a big socialite to reclusive. I started to spend time with myself; I called it “me time.” During “me time” I would read, write poetry about how I felt each day, listen to music from all genres until I found one that reflected my personal style. I realized that likes Neo-Soul; a genre of music my old friends probably never knew existed. I began learn new things about myself. I learned that I have a weird laugh. I never knew that because I never was able to laugh without worrying about what someone might say. I began to embrace my awkwardness and now I love myself and all things about me.

Since I started my journey I also stopped relaxing, or chemically straightening my hair. I am very proud of my hair. My hair is what many people consider nappy. Nappy in many cases is considered a negative thing. But to me, my nappy hair is a direct reflection of the journey that I have taken to self discovery. My coarse texture of hair reflects my style I have not been sanded down or smoothed over by what the media calls beautiful. My journey has been anything but straight, often times I was pulled and stretched by societies influence but each time I was able to bounce back and curl up in my own uniqueness. My gray hair sticks out rather than blend in with the darker strands, and like my gray hair, I refuse to conform to blend in with the crowd. My hair is short because my journey just began, but as my hair grows so does my strength and confidence in myself.