Showing posts with label Beauty Perceptions. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Beauty Perceptions. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Fiona Canters excerpt from Shuttered Vision

She liberally applied the paint to the brush and dabbed the canvas at the right spots.  It gave the flower she was working on texture and depth.  It almost felt like the vivid shade she had seen in her dreams.  But there still wasn’t any amount or type of paint that could fully capture the texture of her dreams.  She placed the shades on her brush in the sky now and dotted the horizon.  The music playing in the background only made her hum slightly to herself following the rhythm and cadence.  She always painted to classic rock.  There was something primal about the way it moved and the way it was played that connected her with her dreamscapes almost seamlessly.  She imagined that bands like Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple conducted their music in that same place.  That was why it drew her there so completely.

Most people discounted dreams as merely unrealized desires, hopes and ambitions.  Small confessions from a person’s subconscious mind to their conscious.  These are the explanations given to them by the practitioners of psychology.  These ideals and thoughts have helped countless people deal with their neurosis and fears. For that reason, Fiona didn’t necessarily disagree with these thoughts.  She just thought it was rather limited.

Fiona Canters grew up differently than the rest of the free world within the United States of America.  When 5 year old Fiona first told her mother about one of her extraordinary dreams her mother had smiled pleased and asked her daughter to tell her what they meant.  Confused Fiona had not answered.  The very next day she had been privy to the conversations the women in her family had away from husbands, boyfriends, sons and fathers.

“Fiona dreamed last night.” Her mother had told her mother in law excitedly.

“Does she know what it means?” her aunt had asked anxiously.

Her mother proudly shook her head and then recounted the dream for the listening gaggle. With gasps of delight and praises to the Almighty they had all regarded Fiona differently. 

The Canters were a French Creole line originally that intermixed with a line that had roots in Native America, Africa and Ireland. Now they were a rainbow people where the shade of relatives spanned the realm of possibility. 

Fiona’s mother was Salvadorian, her skin the color of burnished copper, her hair fell blue black tightly curled and silky across her shoulders.  Her light brown eyes always alight with seemingly forbidden knowledge. A Canters man, her father was tan skinned by nature, dark eyed and hard to place into a particular ethnic set.  From that Fiona had emerged a shade lighter than mahogany, eyes an almost eerie shade of dark grey making them look lit from within as the iris closest to the pupil was a paler grey than the midnight that it changed into as it floated to the rims.

“Witch eyes.” Her grandmother had said that night as the women talked and she took the child’s measure for the first time.

Fiona had starred up innocently into the clear hazel eyes of the paler woman and felt that nagging suspicion of being in the presence of something that was more than it seemed.  Of course as a child she had no true idea of what it was.  Just this sudden unmistakable unshakable awareness as she peered up at the woman waiting for her to change form right before her eyes.

She had always been fearful of her father’s pale, hazel eyed mother. The woman had eyes that saw too much.  They saw everything and communicated with the souls of others without their knowledge.  These were things she had heard whispered growing up among the others.
The others were the ones of her family that had been born without that extra thing that most of the women had.  It was a generation skipping instance.  Every once in a while a woman in their line was born without that extra sense of the world, without the vision to see into others through dreams, premonitions and senses that were a family birthright.

They were raised in a different way than those with sight.  Still loved and shown the same affections and care, but kept away from the ones who bared stunning signs and levels of awareness.  It was a courtesy to both sides.  The children would grow to understand and appreciate each other before they interacted.  Understanding their differences and not treating each other badly over them. 

Before the conception of every child, the women of the family dreamed, during the pregnancy the women dreamed.  They dreamed of the child they would bare, knowing before modern technology whether a boy or a girl would be born.  When the mother conceived her entire existence was enrapt in the being she carried. And through their personal dreamscape they would understand the nature of that child. How it should be raised and what it should be led to do. 

Even those born without the special gifts procured to the blood line were dreamt of.  Regardless of whether it had been given sight or not, it would one day raise a child that most likely would be given sight.  And they needed to be raised in a fashion to be able to deal with their child’s gifts. That was why all dreams and premonitions centered around the child.

Fiona was the exception. Fiona’s mother Alejandra calls that time in her life ‘el negro’.  The dark. For the first time in her life she knew what it was to live as most people do.  She had only common sense, instincts and logic to guide her way through life.  All of her dreams during Fiona’s conception and birth had been shielded from her. All premonition and sensory insight dulled to just instances of déjà vu. Her mother in law said it was because the child she carried was blank. Meaning there was nothing to see. 

For the longest time they thought Fiona was going to be stillborn. Her mother’s gift hiding what was to come to save her enduring the pain more than once. Because of the circumstances of Fiona’s conception and birth she was raised with the children that the family knew possessed none of the gifts.

“At times mi amor, I can see what I must do with you and then I do it and like that its gone.”  Her mother would sometimes whisper at her temple as she put her to bed at night.

It wasn’t until much later at the age of 10 as Fiona started to have actual premonition episodes did she understand what her dreams as a young child meant. Slowly over the years the pieces had started to put themselves together and it implied things about her that was unnatural even for her family.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Unfortunate Truths: The Black Hair Chronicles

As women we are susceptible to beauty trends and myths because as a part of our core programming we are told we have to be.  You see how pretty mommy is and you want to be pretty like mommy.  The women on TV, who gets paid attention to by the boys. This is the fallout of what was all explained to you when you were very young as it takes your mother twice as long to dress you than it does to dress your brother. You have layers usually.  Underwear, undershirt, dress, maybe petticoats, socks, shoes and any random hair accessories to make sure that anyone who sees you, knows that you're a baby girl.    

Don't get me wrong we were all cute as the dickens mind you, but what about that early in life brainwashing that's actually taking place?  When you are percieved as the standard of beauty when you grow up, you may not mind so much because you're top chicken.  But what about all of us ugly, ugly ducklings?  Especially us ugly ducklings who can never be the idea of beauty because we were born with dark skin.

Google Beautiful Women Search

This comes to mind in light of recent stories regarding Olympian Gabby Douglas. I believe I can be quoted as saying "This girl has made history and literally all anyone can talk about is her damned hair!  Seriously!  What year is this?!?!"  My rage while quickly spent was not really effective in any other way than to get the angst out of me for the ignorance that people can bear.  Talk about not seeing the forest for the trees.  

If want to see dark girls you have to be specific and even that isn't full proof.

And then I thought about it and I knew where it all came from. For a majority of black women in America of a certain age group life has been a clusterfuck of being told you're not good enough in a wide variety of humiliating, dogmatic, and dehumanizing ways.  Still to this day people try to use false science, beauty exceptions, and exclusive behaviors to assure the common public that the last woman that should be considered beautiful, is a black one.  The phrase "You're pretty for a dark girl", gets used much to often every day. Because even if the compliment is given, it has been made clear that you are being touted as an unusual case outside of the normal climate.  Still outcast. You're not beautiful, not pretty and frankly not attractive at all.  The irony of it is that to some degree many black women took this as a challenge.  And through it many of us have shed some of our shackles of beauty misgivings and have declared that we define our own beauty and it won't be the crumbs you try to give us.  

Side bar: And please keep in mind that I will not refer to black women born in America who's families have been born in America for decades African-Americans.  You see I know people who were born in Africa and are now Americans.  They are African Americans. . . we are Americans, plain and simple.  I don't care how many times representatives from the Republican party like to imply otherwise. All you have to do is study American history to understand that none of our ancestors were American until after the country was established. My ancestors were born American at nearly the same time as all other Americans that can't trace thier line outside of this country.

Right or Wrong this is the truth
The challenge has become a pact almost amoung black women to maintain and carry their own standard of beauty since the media seeks to constantly denegrate it by applying sole ownership of beauty with images of something none of us will ever be. . . not black. The obsession with hair is a long and dated process that can be traced back to slavery times.  The truth is because of liberal mixing of the races, ironic that it was considered smart then, sometimes produced offspring that could 'pass' for white.  Seeing as that opened a doorway to a whole new life, this was a desired thing.  

Pass for White
In many cases there was only one aspect that could be interpreted as being a 'slave' trait.  That trait was hair. It bore the double-edged sword of being a trait that could be altered when so little else could be.  And the preference went towards assimulation. When you are a captured and enslaved people who's only identifying factor is skin color, you know that were that trait to change you would suddenly be one of them because there was literally no other difference. In fact you watched it happen several times over. Just imagine what a hated and dreaded thing you would consider your skin.  And sense you had no control over your reproduction rights you couldn't decide not to have children to spare them the pain you have to bare. How does that feel, knowing the world your children will come into. With such a powerful regime that went from slavery to incarceration for control of the black population, assimulation must've and in many ways I'm sure, still does seem like the only possible answer to the subjugation of racism to the out of power population.

In the end the desire is to fit in and be considered not just another person, but an actually equal person capable of all the things the population in power is capable of.  Education, housing, employment, and food disadvantages have fundamentally replaced slavery with a new kind of oppression that unfortunately many minorities fight today. Amazingly enough it even includes restrictions on hair style by noted universities and companies who are saying loud and clear "we know you can change this feature about yourself to make us feel more comfortable. . conform or else."  People would be appauled if some company required all of it's staff to be brunette to work there when it is not an entertainment based employment.

For current practical purposes its' much harder for a black woman to wear her hair naturally.  The first reason being very obvious.  The hair was never meant to exist in this climate. As a result the method to adapt that hair to the climate  has to be studied, researched, and developed. The market for products that actually cater to the type of hair that most black people have is a relatively new one.  Only really getting off of the ground in the 80's.  But even then it was to alter the texture of the hair so that it was more manageable.  Not until very recently has there even been a set of prescribed products that can make black hair more manageable without sometimes really damaging effects. 

Hilarious is an Offensive Review
For those of you who don't have 'black' friends or don't understand the hair hocus pocus you think goes on with black women. .  please reference Chris Rock's Good Hair.  He covers it thoroughly.  What I will now give you is the cliffnotes version of why Gabby had to go through that. It is a point of vanity and pride to be able to maintain a head of hair. Because of convenience, perceived beauty expectations, and ignorance, black women have always expected a certain level of commitment from other black women in regards to hair.  Whether for natural hair or against because there are camps that lobby for both. The idea being that if it is not appropriate, you as a woman are not trying hard enough to show the world how people as a race of women we can be.  Beyond that many people within the black community question the integrity, work ethic, and professionalism of a person that has not attempted to adapt their hair to white beauty ideologies when it is simple to do. While others question the need for adapting to white ideologies and denying natural beauty. It is seen as trying to 'not fit in', thus inadvertendly continuing our lack of assimulation. While the other is seen as trying too hard to fit in.  Its a damned if you do damned if you don't situation and is ultimately no win.  

As a black woman who wears her hair naturally I went into this decision understanding the backlash I would get from my community.  And I have accepted the weight of that with all I can bear. My decision was based in the idea that if we were not meant to be different, we wouldn't be.  We are here to learn from each other and trying to hide our differences will not make that possible.  All you really learn from a lie are the strategies for efficient ways to lie. 

But does this really capture ALL women?
At the end of the day, all women, need to understand that we are naturally beautiful as we are. I mean, no make-up, no fancy hairdoes, no woman shaping garments. All the bells and whistles gone. Until we, ourselves, start to see the beauty of all of us as God has made us (or whatever your belief is) we will never be able to show others and ridiculous standards for beauty will always exist and be exclusionary depending on the controlling party of the media.  And the brainwashing will continue. 

What happened with Gabby was a shame not because some people were too concerned by a social standard that bears no real weight or meaning, but because the vanity and shallow behavior has overshadowed accomplishments that should've gained more equality for all American women, not less.  The ultimate slap in the face for all the injustice, discrimination and aggravation that Gabby has suffered to change the world in her own special way, is to have the people who will benefit from it the most use pointless archaic rhetoric to tear her down.  In the face of her accomplishment we shamed her by making it about a centuries old hang-up that we should all have outgrown by now.

Photo Credits: