[Quiet Thoughts] of Beauty

Photo: Some friends of mine brought in roses in exchange for kinklings last week and today they are all fully opened and the smell is intoxicating. I had to get at them with my macro lens and spend a little time learning how to manually set my camera. I’m fairly pleased with the result of this photo, though it wasn’t quite what I was hoping to capture. Still, it’s pretty, so I’m sharing.


I came across an article this week that set off my Quiet Thoughts almost instantly. Why bell hooks is my hair goals is an article that you should take the time to read if you get the chance. Especially if you are a Black woman with natural hair and the struggle to keep it together, let alone achieve the slay, is really quite real.

The article hit close to home for me because I looked in the mirror on Monday morning and spotted more gray hair than I’ve ever seen before. What started as a handful of strands on my right temple during the 100 Inch Winter of 2015 has now spread to my left temple and up front and center for all to see. My grandmother passed away with hair as black as the day she was born and not a drop of dye ever touched her head (I know this because she was the envy of all the other little old ladies in town). She didn’t gift me that gene. Didn’t gift my mother, either. Mom is constantly complaining about her grays. I haven’t made a big stink about it, but… I mean, I’m 32, ya’ll. It just ain’t right. I sucked my teeth when I saw them, grumbled a little bit. I went onto the Shea Moisture site and flirted, just flirted with the idea of getting a box of some color.

For what, though? And really, I’d look ridiculous. My hair color is something that can’t be replicated, and I’m not sayin’ that to brag, I’m sayin’ that because I’m weird.

And that’s where my Quiet Thoughts came in. I started thinking about this hair, the hair I came out the womb with, and the long journey we’ve been on. Now here I am for the next phase. I need to adjust my hair goals. I have to get good with what I’ve got and create my own standard of slay.

I stopped putting chemicals in my hair 9 years ago. I did it the cold-turkey way: getting all of my hair cut off and starting from complete scratch. Unfortunately, over a decade of regular chemical straightener has basically destroyed my scalp. There are places where my hair just won’t grow. What does grow is healthy. I’ve learned to love, care for and style what I have. But I can relate to the author when she writes about having hair that isn’t like what all the other beautiful women of the interwebs are rocking.

The natural hair movement is heavily focused on ‘the slay’. After years of being told that our hair is not good enough there is freedom and catharsis in celebrating a beauty that was lost.

But there’s a quieter element of the natural hair movement that appeals to me. It is the idea that a black woman can love, care for and accept her natural hair as is — thick or thin, long or short, tight or loose — without hiding. bell hooks represents that for me, and that is why she is hair goals. —Black Girl Long Hair

The most important two words in this quote for me are “without hiding.” Yes, it’s so easy to hide. It would be gloriously easy to start hiding behind a box of color, keeping up with yet another thing. I can’t really hide from my scalp troubles, either, but I can learn to live with them, learn to love the hair I have and take good care of it. I can also use it as a lesson for the little Black girls I encounter, telling them how beautiful their cornrows are or fawning over their natural curls.

I started thinking about who I wanted my hair goal role model to be. Naturally, Toni Morrison came to mind in an instant. Her locs are, frankly, everything. They are incredible, with a form, elegance and presence all their own, only further enhancing the eminence of her presence. If I had a head of gray locs that could have even an ounce of the magnificence hers have, well, I think I’d be doing alright. She slays on all levels for obvious reasons.

I am so glad to be made of light, salt and clay. I am infinitely beautiful, in my own way, graying troubled hair and all. I’m sharing this post in appreciation of the author’s vulnerability and the lesson that she teaches, asking us all to love what we have and seek paragons for how to do so. Whoever you are, however you look, do you have a “goal-model” Dear Reader? Is there someone out there who can be your role model for self-love and self-care?

It’s going to be blue-cold tomorrow, with windchills going down into negative double-digits during the day. We aren’t even going to bother heating the playroom. It’s  going to be me and the boys in this little living room with all the toys and all the things. Good times. Of course, there is a major storm on the horizon as well, so half my brain will be constructing my Wegmans list. Just another winter weekend in Massachusetts, no?

On this frigid Friday night, I wish you soup and sandwiches. The season for such things may be coming to an end, but there are plenty more days left to enjoy. I wish you a big pot that simmers on the stove all day and as many bowls as you want, warming the tummies, feeding the souls. Bonus, of course, if you make the pot from scratch yourself. Maybe a bit of Stone Soup and delightfully crusty bread? Don’t forget sandwiches. Maybe you can serve those on flatbread–it’s not that hard! I wish you lots and lots of blankets, maybe even some fort making. Don’t forget extra pillows and flashlights (yes, this is a legitimate activity even for adults). I wish you a very good book set in warm places, and maybe a movie or two featuring beach settings. I wish you extra slumber under multiple blankets, the time you need to rejuvenate after a long week. You deserve it, Dear Reader, so take the time to breathe and relax. Do be sure to squeeze a loved one’s hand and kiss a cheek this weekend. Do also be sure to tell someone you love them and sincerely listen when someone tells you the same in return. Remember that you are loved profoundly, and that you do a lot in the world. You are infinitely beautiful and perfect, right now, just as you are. Isn’t that wonderful?

Until Monday, sing, dance, sleep, eat well, love fiercely, speak up, reach out and take care.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. I’ve only recently discovered Bell Hooks in February as she her work was featured in the indie bookshop I stumbled into that night. I’m in the process of reading “Communion” and I have to say that I have to read it in small morsels because what she writes hits me so deeply. I take the time to digest her wisdom and I absolutely adore that.

    I have to say the ending of this post touched my soul, I have tears on the edges of my eyelids because it is so kind of you to write to people/your readers. I had a hard weekend and I so wish I had come on to my reader a few days ago to keep this with me the last few days. Even though that didn’t happen, I am writing down your paragraph as a reminder….and I just might take myself out for soup and a sandwich at lunch today.

    Much love and appreciation to you <3

    1. K.C. Wise says:

      All Quiet Thoughts posts end that way. 🙂 So if you like the warm and fuzzies, I hope you’ll come back often!

      bell hooks is a rare and wonderful master. I find that sometimes I need to drink her wisdom in gallon-gulps, while othertimes I can only handle a trickle at a time. I find her words to by cyclical, too… I’ve encountered wisdoms that bounced off of me due to lack of experience or readiness that now come to me and stick right in my chest, shredding and tearing a bit, never ever letting go. I suggest going in for the wisdom and then surfacing for “lighter” reading for a bit before diving back in. Otherwise, it can be overload. 🙂

      Thank you for coming back for a second post! So many pop in just for the Freshly Pressed and then never come back. I’m really grateful that you’ve honored me with a second read! It means a lot!

      1. I’ll be coming back often, I love what you write about and how you write. You have a way with words that stirs the heart and soul. It is almost as if you are across the table speaking over a steaming mug of hot tea or coffee & I’m my usual quiet self listening, reflecting as your words tumble forth and land intentionally in front of us. I’ve completely swooned over your “quiet thoughts” that pulled me right in on this post and then the ending just hit me right in the heart. <3 thank you so much for writing. It means the world to me.

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