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Hello again to you, AHIF readers. First, I have to start with an apology, my lack of engagement on the page in the last couple of months has been terrible, and I am made aware of that almost every day when –despite my lack of activity- I get new LIKERS of the page.

Having this page for the last couple of years- about four now- has been enlightening in so many ways, in as much as I have enjoyed sharing my natural hair journey, my tips and tricks, as well as my thoughts on what black beauty means, I myself have learned so much. I have grown as a writer, my own natural hair regimen has become so solid, but most of all, I have developed a profound love for my Self. Having this page has allowed me to embrace the reflection that I see in the mirror as beautiful, as flat-nosed and coily-haired as it is, that I am not beautiful despite of those things, but because of them. Having this page has presented me countless opportunities to look for and find natural-haired black women in all their beautiful variations to share on the page, and in doing so I have been able to see my reflection in them, and therefore acknowledge my own perfection. This page has allowed me even to see beauty in my counterpart, the black man, in a way that I did not before, in being able to see beauty in my own dark skinned self, I have gained a profound appreciation for those who I see myself reflected in. My hope is that this page has –and certainly will continue- to do the same for you.

It has always been very important to me that I not only talk about how to manage and take care of natural afro textured hair, but to speak about the things that prevent women from going natural, even the things that make a certain ‘type’ of natural hair the more acceptable. I am all about embracing all forms of beauty, broadening the beauty spectrum, defining for yourself what beauty means; and most importantly learning to love and celebrate ourselves.

So the reason for my absence? Well, I am not a full-time blogger, I have a budding music career that I am so deeply devoted to, and it has taken much of my time this year, not just time, but most of all, mental space. I released a single this year (you can check it out here), which has been hugely exciting, and I am now recording my album. This, however, is no excuse, and it was after speaking to a friend about how proud I am of his beloved blog of mine, that I was reminded that when something is important to you make time for it. So here I am, making time.

The last couple of months have been a period of intense introspection, profound enlightenment, rising above pain and loss and into self love and acceptance. I have learned that you cannot substitute self love with the love of another (or others), that your opinion of yourself is the only one that counts, and that time spent finding yourself and learning to love and accept yourself is time well spent. This is all so relevant for us black women, in  so many ways throughout history and until this day we are told in many ways that we are not beautiful enough, that we are not valuable enough by the world’s standards. However, as black people as a whole, our priority should be to build ourselves up, to support black businesses (like small local natural hair brands for instance), to learn and teach real African history, so that we gain derive a sense of pride and dignity from who we are and what we have achieved. We need to celebrate ourselves and each other, uplift each other, and I believe that in the same way that self love precedes receiving love from another, celebrating and acknowledging our own value is the only way that we can gain the respect of the rest of the world.

So I leave you with this question: how can you love and celebrate yourself today? I don’t mean vanity, and I don’t mean arrogance, because real self love is never boastful and never loud. I mean in your own small way accept a little more what you see in the mirror, embrace a little more of the person you’ve been trying so hard to fix; because the truth is that real beauty emanates from within. Even with our natural hair, it’ll be a constant uphill battle if you are trying to manipulate it into something that it’ll never be because you think that is what is neat or acceptable- trust me, I’ve been there.

I know this article may seem a bit off topic from the natural hair articles I usually write, but, like I always say, it starts with acceptance. Going natural for the first time offers you an image of yourself that you have been battling to accept for so long, allow that journey to let you go even deeper into what real self acceptance feels like.