“No, I’m not the most beautiful person in the world. Some people think I’m ugly. Some people think I’m okay. You have to love who you are for who you are. I never knock people for their choices but I don’t ever want to augment who I am. What I look like and who I am was a gift from my parents and if I want to change that it’s kind of like slapping them in the face. I always want to be true to who I am because it’s my heritage. Even if it’s not the most beautiful, it’s history and my family history. Beauty is how you make people feel about themselves.” -Whitney White (Naptural85) from an interview with KisforKinky.com
It's our absolute favourite vlogger, Whitney White, A.K.A, Naptural85. The natural hair enthusiast that we watched grow her Black, natural, kinky hair and YouTube followers to enormous proportions. Her natural hair is now past her shoulder blades stretched and over 1 million followers watch her journey! She launched her new, original haircare line called Melanin back in November 2018 and the pre-orders sold out. Whitney is gettin' her bag.
I've been watching and learning from this DIY naturalista for over 6 years and have been inspired by her gorgeous, healthy hair growth and the struggles she shared like hair loss in the middle of it. Her big chop and natural hair journey began in August 2008 as she chronicled it on YouTube.
But, let's get back to the powerful quote above that inspired this blog post. People's perception of "beauty" and how we internalize or reject their views. Let's be honest, most of us focus first on people's looks and evaluate them based on our personal or global beauty standards.
I personally love listening to Whitney and feel she's my girl from waaaay back. What I love about her is that she has a gorgeous soul and personality and is authentically in love with herself. Despite whether or not other people are.
How do we, ourselves internalize people's unhealthy comments and perceptions on how we look? How have we made hateful and hurtful comments in person, online or to our friends about others, based on our own insecurities or judgements? I know I'm guilty. But as I evolve, grow and heal spiritually and as a person, this is something I eventually will grow out of. Like Gabrielle Union famously admitted, she was a bonafide "hater" and "troll" for years, because of low self-esteem.
"What did you accomplish by tearing that woman down? All you did was reveal to everyone in this party what low self-esteem you have." - A.J. Johnson
How many of us does that resonate with? This is what Johnson, Union's life and fitness coach challenged her with years ago, as she shared on the Red Table Talk episode with Jada Pinkett-Smith. I personally watched that episode twice before. But watching it again just to get Union's quote right, I saw a stirring reflection of myself. Gabrielle said that while working with personal trainer and life coach A.J. Johnson, she told her that all the negativity she was putting out there was coming back to her. That's why Union's life was at "rock bottom" as she called it and had failed in her marriage, her show got cancelled and she was fighting with her OG friends.
Just like Union, we can all make the choice to grow and evolve into a better version of ourselves. Someone that does the work to overcome any complexes and insecurities that tempt us to destroy others with not just our words--but our thoughts and intentions in the things we do--and don't do. Another favourite quote:
"You have to love who you are for who you are."
But isn't this so hard when you don't grow up with this knowledge or realize that you're actually supposed to love yourself? Or sometimes we missed receiving the love that we so crave. Most of our unhappiness comes from within--even though it may look like an unsatisfying life is to blame. It's more likely and unsatisfied and broken soul, in need of healing.
"I never knock people for their choices but I don’t ever want to augment who I am. What I look like and who I am was a gift from my parents and if I want to change that it’s kind of like slapping them in the face. I always want to be true to who I am because it’s my heritage. Even if it’s not the most beautiful, it’s history and my family history."
I meditated on the depth of character she revealed in her perception of what people thought--in relation to her perspectives on how she still values her looks. I'm sure her husband, family and children think she's beautiful. But these days there's so much focus on getting that 'bangin' body', or body part or certain features to please men, women, oneself or the masses. And people seem to overlook, accept and be entertained by people who exhibit very poor character traits, are ratchet or treat others poorly. No one holds them accountable or calls out the garbage.
No amount of money can fund an impoverished soul. I'm challenging us all to spend much more time on personal growth, spiritual development, character moulding and being more positive, authentic people. Instead, of just being nice, or popular, or occupied with your phone or what everyone else is doing, become the example yjat ypu want your kids or family to see. Whitney is a stunningly beautiful model to her son and daughter of how being beautiful inside, automatically makes you so much prettier to people outside.
I would much rather be stranded, at a great festival, or going through regular life with Whitney White, than some woman who's consumed with how "beautiful" she is. But how's her heart? How's her attitude? How's her soul?