By J.Naomi Johnson
Being real comes in many forms.
It is relative to each of us. So frequently in this country people believe their individual realness to be the truth and reality that everyone must live in. I too have committed this crime. Taking the vantage point of my scene I assumed I’d receive instant validation for any and all of my actions. My thoughts were that I was justified. Period.
Is this keeping it real? Or was I really just making excuses for not growing as a person? Was I wrong?
I define growth as acceptance of change and development causing one to be greater than before. The real or published definition of growth according to my Google search engine is, “the process of increasing in physical size.” A seed must grow. A baby must grow. So it would appear that without growth you are just there. Soon ceasing to exist.
This is the portrait of the United States right now. We are all just keeping it real. The police who are under fire for their brutality claim they are keeping it real. The people who riot and destroy countless businesses and homes in protest claim they are really upset. The government that limits intervention to focus on money matters says they are really doing their best. They are all just keeping it real. They are all just making excuses to prominently affect the lives of one another.
So yeah, the United States has grown but it has not grown. I guess it just keeps it real and really has not become anything except for crowded.
When I did what natural girls do called the Big Chop, I wanted to get rid of all the restraints that I had holding me back from loving who I am completely. A beautiful Black Queen. Hair is a big thing to women. Trust me when I say we spend thousands on it. Surprisingly, now that I am natural, I feel like I spend even more than I did before. But anyways, to me this act was, is and will always be keeping it real. That is from my perspective. However, my entire family swore I was pulling a Brittney Spears. They challenged the notion that it would liberate me and even suggest that it may not grow back.
In a way, they were somewhat right. It took trial and error, reverting back to permed hair and two more big chops before I got the results I wanted. Whew! In time, my family took notice of my tenacity and struggle and changed their overall perceptions. It also helped that more men and women were beginning to join in the movement. Looking back at my hair journey I see we all had our convictions but we all grew together. Both sides took change and developed a greater understanding of each other’s perspective.
This experience was more than real. It was common decency at its finest. A very rare but effective tool. Perhaps this is the remedy to our societal woes: COMMON DECENCY. Providing each other with civility and dignity everyday. Maybe that is the mural that needs to be created here.
And that is REAL.