I have recently joined two groups on Facebook, solely because the invites were initiated by two dear friends.
Though I can’t comment on whether they did it because they felt I needed them or because I could contribute to them but in either case, there is no complaining 😊
At my end too, courtesy had rated higher than interest-levels (you get bombarded by posts, pictures and Ads enough already) to join them. While one constituted of curly-heads, the other comprised of people who loved and endorsed the culture of wearing sarees (a traditional Indian wear)
While browsing through their group pages, I wondered what must be the content that engaged and involved over 15,000 members on a daily basis apart from seemingly little commonalities.
Anyway, I accepted the invites and went on to being a passive, non-existent participant. Everyday, when I’d open my account for the usual updates and announcements by fb enthusiasts, I’d chance upon one or two notifications of the group activity.
Careful to not click on all of them at once (‘coz internet stalks and remembers all your clicks and any instance of lowering your guard can result in being pounded by anything that remotely fits the bill of your ‘potential’ interests) I would read approximately one out of ten or fifteen posts and boy was I surprised; genuinely and pleasantly; at the power of social media!
I’ll restrict this post to the one with curly heads (CH for ease of use) for the fear of it running too long.
Honestly, I had expected the CH group to be more of an online-support group ‘coz being one myself, I know for a fact that there are more experiences to rant than rave about.
In one way or the other, all CHs have been through a similar-familiar journey and are well acquainted with being nick-named Maggi, Medussa, nest-head or forever being advised to pin, pull or tie their hair.
I realized that there were too many of me trying to fight the pressing suggestions to opt for smoothening, straightening or heat-styling to hide the ‘damaged’ hair ‘condition’ each time we stepped into a parlor…
All of us believing that the self-appointed ‘Tame-All’ vigilante had obviously (always) known better.
Each time I read stories of women feeling more confident after accepting and appreciating their mane, a sense of empowerment trickled down my spine because they highlighted the truth about how a passing comment, a friendly advise or even a ‘look’ carried the potential to dent and scar a young mind into believing that what they were born with, wasn’t good enough and that they fared miserably or worse; failed to conform to some unwritten, widely accepted norms.
Their stories were countless but the essence remained the same.
It reminded me of my school’s physical training instructor being fussy about children being of exact same height in each file of the marching contingent. With same lengths of uniforms, tie, socks, style of shoes and length of hair; from a distance, we all looked like mirror images of each other. If it was feasible, he would have us wear masks so we even looked like each other!
‘But that’s how a marching contingent looks disciplined and smart’, he’d say and we’d agree but was it agreeable if this same expectation extrapolated over what colour our eyes should be or whether we choose or not to thread or wax?
That sure is food for thought but for now, the stories of hair-shaming and low-confidence to eventually finding a way to love self and encourage others to take on a similar path are as inspiring and empowering as they come. 😊
Why try to fit when you were born to stand out? Why conform to standards when you were chosen to celebrate your uniqueness?