Picture-2217The side-eye. The dreadful side-eye that each and every one of us dreads receiving after making a statement. Well, the other day, a young man who finished stating a corny joke received a cluster of suicidal looks from a group of women I was with, instead of the bundle of laughter that he had anticipated.

Feeling slightly guilty for my own abrupt blurt of laughter, I realized that I was the only one of my “natural sistah’s” who found humor in his senseless joke. Not being offensive, just goofy, he was scorned by the rest of the women as if he had exposed everyone’s darkest and deepest secrets. As he left, he mumbled under his breath, “Natural women are fine but too serious.”

I’ve often heard men say that it’s harder to approach a woman with natural hair simply because the majority of the time they show an unmatchable confidence and feel beautiful in their own skin. I realize that another, more unfortunate, stereotype often equated with natural women is that they come off as “serious” and “intimidating.” People feel that just because we have transitioned to our natural hair texture, our sense of humor went right along with it.

Now, for the most part, this is a ridiculous and false generalization—but what I have realized is that for some women, that’s exactly what happens. They tend to take things a tad bit too seriously, and forget that not everything has a double meaning. In certain cases, it’s simply a light-hearted laugh or just not worth getting worked up about, especially concerning your strands. If you’re truly comfortable with who you are, there is no need to be defensive. Just simply address the issue at hand; and if they disagree, it’s not worth your energy to get upset. I know women who, anytime “natural hair” is mentioned, roll out a history lesson or ten insistent reasons as to why others should convert or transition.

It doesn’t matter what hair style you rock if you remember that laughter is the best form of medicine. Throughout the day we are bombarded with life-threatening news; we have to choose that which is truly important enough to over-analyze and get upset over. I know the history and ways in which we were conditioned in this country, and that will never be erased; but it this doesn’t mean that everything has to be serious matter. I’m not saying that you should allow people to disrespect you—just filter what you take to heart. Learn how to embrace and truly love every ounce of yourself so that you can let meaningless comments roll off of your back

-Ellisa Oyewo

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