The other day, I watched the interview on OWN, Oprah Winfrey Network, with Lupita Nyong'o and her words resonated so deeply to my own relationship with beauty.
“There’s beauty in all forms, not just the aesthetic but the spiritual. To glimpse beauty is to experience the divine and there is that potential in all of us. Beauty is very much a part of our nature, if we allow it.”
Beauty is defined as :: a combination of qualities, such as shape, colour, or form, that pleases the aesthetic senses, especially sight
In my early childhood years, I viewed beauty based on this exact definition. I often turned on the television and would stare in amazement at the women that the media exemplified as the "standard" of beauty. Most of the women often had skin as white as snow or fair, caramel skin.
Upon commencing my first year of high school, in a predominately African-American space, I found that the emphasis of colorism grew even more. This was the transition from TV to a first hand experience in being indirectly told that I was less than simply based on the colour of my skin. As with all things that we continuously hear or experience in our daily lives, the ongoing narrative of "not being enough" because of my physical features, soon turned into egocentrism. There was a complete lack of ability to differentiate between my truth and the narrative of another and so the two became one. I began to feel that I lacked the physical beauty and it left a deep sense of emptiness within.
Eventually, we become so accustomed to this negative narrative that it seeps into our subconscious and we aren't conscious of its existence. I walked around with this narrative for years and years and unfortunately it was often validated by my peers and the media.
My journey to self-awareness emerged in a space of complete stillness. I was living in Bali, Indonesia and I felt more alone than ever before. For the first time, I began meditating through journaling, I began to pour out the pain that sat deep within my soul. I would jump on my moped and drive to rices fields and felt my inner being rise before me. I realised that beauty isn't some linear narrative but rather an ever-expanding narrative incorporating the seen and unseen. The farmers covered in sweat while meticulously farming their crops, the dragonflies visiting my home almost daily, the smiles and welcoming nature of the locals, the laughter over warm ginger tea :: beauty is a part of our nature, it is from nature itself.
In this interconnected world the most beautiful moments aren't when we open a magazine to look at an airbrushed image but rather the simplest moments of life :: hugs from your loved one, warm coffee next to the beach, light-hearted conversations with your friends, etc
That pain of "not feeling enough" was completely necessary in my journey and in your journey as well (if this resonates with you).
In the interview Lupita also said
“There’s a part of me that will always identify with being unattractive because I spent the first few years, my formative years, not feeling beautiful, but I don’t think of it as being a burden. I think there’s a duality in all of us and we find balance when we’re able to identify with both sides of ourselves.
I’ve spent more time on this earth being considered beautiful than I have being considered not and I love it. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. But I also feel that having a time when I didn’t find myself beautiful or the world didn’t see me as beautiful, allowed me to develop other parts of myself, that I think are way more meaningful and that’s the beauty that we cultivate. So I hold that part close to me because it gives me the balance."
Darkness can create the balance we all need to thrive. In my life, darkness gave me space to turn my focus away from physical beauty, which I now know that I possess, towards kindness, humility and compassion. I focused on creating a foundation of spreading love + I'm beyond grateful for that gift. Darkness gave me space to see the beauty beyond the physical attributes of humans but rather in the energy they evoke. It's the reason for my immense love for nature, for my immense love of standing in my authentic power, and for my immense love for simply experiencing life itself.
understand this :
beauty is not linear + within you sits layers and layers of beauty that is aligned with your truest self (your purpose)
This is the foundational basis of Ayune Hair :: celebrating the layers of beauty :: it is solely based on the cultivation of my experiences of experiencing true innate beauty and understanding that this business doesn't have to fit a narrative that doesn't align with my truth.
Check out the full interview below: