The Night I Realized The Opinion Of A Man Means Nothing To Me

October 11, 2017  |  

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Credit: Getty

One day after a workout, I went to my favorite juice bar, Fountain of Youth in Queens. After I finished ordering, one of the employees began asking me about the products that I use on my natural hair, which led to us chopping it up about curly girl problems. She began telling me about her natural hair journey and how she received judgment from her family and even strangers. She said one day at work she wore her afro out and a male patron had the nerve to say to her “Damn, you don’t comb your hair?” She hasn’t worn her hair out at work since.

Later that night I was watching VH1’s “Black Ink Crew: Chicago.” In one scene, cast member Charmaine is with her boyfriend and he pointed out to her that she is “getting thick.” She immediately gets offended. He then brings attention to the area above her pelvis and she immediately feels insecure about having a “FUPA.” He tries to backtrack but the damage has been done. Fast forward to the scene where she was in the doctor’s office getting a procedure done to melt the fat away.I was once in the same space as these women.

I was once in the same space as these women. If a guy said I didn’t look nice or made comments about my hair or weight I felt embarrassed and insecure. Their word meant so much. If I went out with friends and men weren’t flirting with me or giving me compliments I felt like I wasn’t pretty enough. If I had on a flattering outfit I would second guess myself because even though I liked it, would men like it? Would they ask me for my number? A man asking me for my number was so validating for me. It made me feel like I put on the right outfit, had my hair in the right style, like I was beautiful in that moment. Since I had low self-esteem I always felt that if a man didn’t notice me then I wasn’t beautiful. At 27, I’m finally changing that narrative.

I realized that the word of a man means nothing to me one night when I was with this guy I had dated previously. After eight years I cut my long tresses into a teeny weeny afro. I loved it (and I still do). I came to talk about including him in one of my business endeavors but as soon as he saw my TWA it was all about my hair. Once he told me how ugly it was I quickly snapped back and informed him that my hair cut
wasn’t for him and that I liked it and that is what mattered. The crazy thing is, I actually believed what I was saying. I didn’t snap back out of just anger. He then proceeded to say that if he was around that wouldn’t have happened. He thought he had that much power and that my mind could be changed because of what he thought was best. His comment stung a little bit but I didn’t care about what he thought. When were were dating he would ghost me, was unsupportive and stood me up from time to time. He clearly had poor character, so why would his word mean anything?

I’m finally at a point where I need my own approval first. I don’t leave the house until I SAY I look beautiful. Why do I need the approval of men? I guess dating guys who were established but turned out to be pure fuck boys has helped get me to this point. Poor character, dishonest, misleading and inconsiderate. Why would I want approval or recognition from someone that lacks integrity?

I’m not saying there aren’t great guys out there because there are. But whether you are a Papoose or a Lawrence, I don’t need validation from you. I do that for myself. I wish more women did too.

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