What do you think are the 5 most beautiful things in the world?
Beauty can be an abstract term. What may be considered beautiful to some may not be for others. Blah, blah, blah. Yeah, we all get it.
Despite the overwhelming amount of negative or “ugly” things we see every day in the news and on social media, I like to think there is equally as much if not more beauty in our lives. Things may be tough, but there’s no denying that if it wasn’t for the beautiful things, most of us would’ve thrown in our towels a long time ago.
The layers of work I do in cultural criticism, anti-racism advocacy and gender equity expose me to clashing visions of the world around me. Add being a mother of six to the mix, and it often becomes a challenge to appreciate the beauty that each has to offer.
I also have to resist standards forced on me by a society that has taught me that much of what I may consider beautiful will probably not be broadly admired. I really don’t give sh**, but it’s a reality that I tackle with constantly—inside and outside of my faith.
Okay. Preaching over. I do love enjoying beautiful things, and I’ve chosen five that I think are some of the most beautiful. Ironically enough, they are all actions/relationships that uplift my spirit and give me hope.
1 – Hajj
I have yet to go, but the pictures, stories and the utter euphoria on the faces of people who have gone on the annual pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca, KSA is so beautiful.
Humans have multiple ways of seeking spiritual/emotional fulfillment—and I’m often moved by the beauty in those quests—but my personal yearning to go on this one makes it the most beautiful for me.
2 – Protest
Y’all know I’m Black, right? Well, protest has played a significant role in me enjoying many of the liberties I have as well as gives me and anyone struggling against injustice and oppression a means to assert our voices and humanity.
The creative ways people express their determination to be heard and demand dignity and justice is truly beautiful, and I’ve felt it when joining to lift every voice and sing.
3 – The Big Chop
This is something I’ve done myself along with a lot of Black women. Global beauty standards continue to promote White supremacy. Just look at the picture below of the results when I typed “beauty” in a search box.
Yeah, enough said.
The world adores straight, thin hair. Consequently, the natural texture of many Black women’s hair is derided and we spend billions on trying to make our tresses conform.
“The Big Chop” is when a Black woman cuts off any relaxed hair and allows her natural hair to grow. It can be empowering and downright traumatic.
Black women deciding to go natural have to adjust to their new style, learn how to care for their hair and face a society primed to ridicule and discriminate against them, including other Black people.
There may also be an initial shock, but for many Black women, The Big Chop is a beautiful exercise of liberation—not to mention that natural hair is rocking!
4 – Mother-Daughter
I’ve been on both sides of this relationship dynamic, and healthy mother-daughter relationships are by far one of the most beautiful things to see and enjoy.
My mom died when I was in my twenties, and the immediate impact of losing my first caregiver, confidante and support is something I still feel.
As a mother, I’ve experienced my relationship with my daughter evolve, and each step in that evolution has been filled with beauty. We’ve gone from me caring for her to building a special type of connection, where we hold onto each other in ways that we can’t get from other people.
I look forward to building similar relationships with my two little girls, inshaallah.
5- Daddy’s Little Girl
I missed out on this, but I’ve seen so much beauty in watching my husband and other fathers dedicated to their daughters melt like butter in the sunlight.
I’m not saying fathers don’t love their sons, but having a daughter forces many men to venture outside of their masculinity and explore things they probably never would. A lot of times, a daughter reaches in and draws out the softest, squishiest parts of their fathers.
Daughters make fathers do things that require they learn to be comfortable enough with who they are to give their little girls what they need from them. The dynamics of a proper tea party alone can make a man shed some social cues and acquire new ones to make sure his daughter giggles and feels like the most special person in the world.
Don’t get me started on fathers and their grown daughters. Okay, now I’m getting verklempt.
Beauty is subjective. However, our individual abilities to find it in so many things is astounding.
I’m an old fart, but I always loved the Afros of the late 60’s -early 70’s on both women and men. I’m glad the style is being reclaimed.
Unfortunately there is heightened discrimination that came with the new natural hair movement. Lots of school girls are targeted.
I love this entirely. I love when people are confident about themselves and what they love.
No way is my hair ever going to be thin or straight either. I’ve accepted it as I’ve grown older, and actually like it now.