I started my day as usual, breakfast with coffee and then I began the all consuming task of doing my two daughters hair. My youngest Jordyn usually takes the least amount of time mainly because she is only two and doesn't care much about her hair, but also because it is short and I can usually just wet it, rub some cream in, brush it back and call it a day. My oldest Gabby is a different story. She is four now and at an age where her hair and her "image" matters. She whines and cries the entire time I do her hair and no matter what style I am trying to accomplish it is never good enough. I guess I should tell you that both of my daughters are bi-racial. I have always wanted pretty curly hair and nice caramel skin so I never dreamed that either of my girls would have an issue with how they look.
The whole problem started about a year ago when Gabby(my oldest) told me that she didn't feel pretty because she didn't have long blonde hair like Barbie. It touched a special place in my heart and actually made me cry. What does a three and a half year old know about pretty? I assured her that she was beautiful. Halloween came and of course like every other 4 year old in the United States Gabby wanted to be Elsa. We assured her that she didn't need the blonde wig, but that didn't work. She actually cried because she couldn't be white like Elsa. I was in disbelief. I had to gather my thoughts before I consoled her. How could she not feel beautiful? How could my sweet baby not feel like the most beautiful girl in the world? She was and still is so young. I was not prepared to deal with these issues for a while. At this moment it occurred to me that there are very few Disney Princesses, Barbies or even cartoons that bi-racial or even African American girls and boys can idolize. They are stuck with the Princesses that don't resemble them at all. Yes they have Jasmine, Tiana, and Pocahontas, but that's three out of dozens.
Here I am a year later and my daughter does not feel pretty unless I flat iron her hair. I don't do it often, in fact I might do it every few months, but when I do I have to fight her to let it go back curly. She insist upon wearing a wig to play dress up and tells me all of the time that she wishes she could be pretty like me. This is such a terrible thing that I never imagined anyone had to deal with. It opened my eyes to the fact that people all over the world deal with these same issues and I am only getting a small taste of it. I will continue to encourage my daughter to live in her beauty and tell her everyday how amazing she is. I pray often that when she grows up she will have high self esteem and confidence. They don't write a how to book on these issues and you learn as you live. I am aware now like never before that the way this world is set up can be cruel. I hope beyond all that my children experience less of that and more of life.