Kinky Hair, Stronger Me Pt. 2

My hair
Resistance

Being normal
Being an everyday ordinary girl
Being me
Resistance

Hated
My curly hair in a fro
Tied neatly with a bow
Resistance

Burned
Monthly
Straight hair
Being me
Is not enough

Curly hair
Kinky hair
Too much
Of my nature
Too much of me
Is Resistance

My perfectly combed hair
Is nothing
Compared to straight hair
Uncombed, unwashed, unreal
Acceptable
Conformity

Being me
An everyday ordinary girl
Unaltered
My hair is called
Resistance

There exists in every experience a lesson to be kept near.

Last week I told you about my internal journey with my hair. And though it has been and continues to be an important and interesting journey for me (I washed my hair with avocado, aloe vera, honey and cinnamon yesterday.) that isn’t what has made it one of the more impactful and life-changing experiences. That achievement goes to the external journey.

When I decided to cut my hair, it wasn’t to be radical. When I finally decided to stop straightening my hair, it wasn’t to be different. But the choice to treat my hair as I see it fit has led me through a major change which has taught me lessons that I’m pleased to have learned.

Cutting my hair it took a lifetime.

After two years, I made the final decision to cut my hair, and slated the date for my 23rd birthday. I know how busy salons can be, and I didn’t intend to be there the whole day so I got there early.

My hairdresser for the day spoke to me about not cutting my hair as we stood outside waiting for the salon to be opened, suggested alternative products for me to straighten my hair after we got into the building and I waited for them to do the opening of the different stalls, questioned if my parents were okay with me cutting my hair as I sat in the chair. Then she ran her fingers through my hair and brushed it unnecessarily, since I had made sure it was perfectly de-tangled. And slowly, very slowly she began cutting my hair inch by inch. But that wasn’t the end. Halfway though the process she calls over her coworkers to show them how much of my hair was gone and told them with quite a lot of emotion that I still wanted more off. Yes, I’d had hair that barely touched my shoulders and I wanted it cut so that one inch remained. Her co’s expressed their amazement, and we went over the why, and the “you can just leave it like that and style it” conversation again.

After cutting my hair I received a lot of undue attention. People wanted to know why I cut my hair and what I was going to do with it. At that time my intent was to straighten it with the concoction mention in Pt 1. But after a while I decided to keep it natural, and sometime after that I began receiving questions again, because somehow people who aren’t concerned about anything else about me were concern yet again about my hair. It was long enough to straighten, so why wasn’t I.

A Scene from a Day in the Life of a Kinky-Haired Girl
A Scene from a Day in the Life of a Kinky-Haired Girl

Act 1 – The Torture Begins

So I’ve began telling people that I will be leaving my hair in its natural state and the onslaught begins. It feels much like the hairdresser scene all over but it is daily. Simply thinking about it is emotionally exasperating.

Before leaving the house, my grandmother asks if I am not going to do my hair. I tell her I have. She comments that it doesn’t look that way. This is a regular scene…even now.

My mother joins in whenever she hears, or she begins it. In the earlier days she would say that no one would hire me looking like I do. Thankfully, though I’m not awesome at writing, I’m not terrible at it either. (Thank God.) Next she said people wouldn’t give me interviews. Wrong again. So now she simply laments how unkempt it looks.

While on a eight-month training course I was continually asked: What happened to your hair? People looked at me with disdain, as if I was beneath them because my hair was not straightened. At almost every turn there was someone saying something negative or expressing it in some other way.

It was difficult.

Everyday was a fight. The closest thing I’d liken it to would be telling persons I want to be a writer. It’s not lucrative to them so they bash it, and point out how useless it’ll be and the persons I’ll burden by my choice. But oddly standing up for my hair was more difficult.

To be honest, I have cowered a lot in my writing journey. It took my forever to realize I wanted to write, and then I was afraid. And after making the final decision I still was so I compromised, and then I hide behind my compromise. So when people would ask what I wanted to do then bash writing I’d say “Well, I can do…” I was a coward. I am a coward. I still slump my emotional shoulders a little when someone older who has experienced more of the world verbally beats me about my choice to write. And I still pretend I’ll do something else besides writing…

But I’m not so cowardly about my hair. I am not a coward in the least. My hair is exactly as it should be. For some time I fought with this until I came to the understanding that people are against it simply because it isn’t a norm, because they are not accustomed to it. At times I argued that it was my choice. But then I began to link it to my spirituality. (I’m a Christian.)

This might sound a little strange. However, linking my way of life and beliefs is easier than not. I can’t track the process but I do remember the resounding conclusion that my hair is apart of the wonderfully and beautifully created me made by God (Ps. 139:14). Just like I don’t alter my appearance with make-up, piercings/tattoos, or nails/nail painting, I don’t need to alter my hair either. Any alteration made to a piece suggests that it wasn’t as it should have been. It’s a show of disagreement with and rebellion against the creator. I know how furious and insulted I feel when someone edits a piece I’ve completed. When I made this connection I felt at ease, and I no longer cared about everyone else’s uproar or displeasure. I knew that my decision was, not justified because justification implies that something is indeed incorrect but, the right choice…the perfect choice.

Through this journey I learnt:
People will act as though you are living their life. But it is important to know that you aren’t. It’s important to know that every choice you make is yours, and no one who ever exist, is existing, or will ever exist will have to sleep with your choice haunting them. But you will. Yes, your choice might affect someone else, but it is your life. And living according to your own beliefs is important. I am not saying you should not consider others, but you should not allow your life to be dictated by other people’s views and beliefs that aren’t your own just because they don’t like your views and beliefs. Once it does not affect someone to the point of harming them (or yourself physically, spiritually, emotionally) enjoy doing it. Enjoy being you.

I am not my hair but my the experience with my hair has made me so much stronger than I ever thought of being.

I like me
Curly, twirly hair
Naked skin with its blemish here and there
Nails: short; long; clear
I like me

I’m just as I should be
I like me
I like this confident me

Next week I’ll be posting two reviews from the Top Ten US show list.

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