My Hair Does NOT Define Me!

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For my daughter … and all of the other little black women in training.

After washing and blow drying my daughter’s hair yesterday evening, I asked her how she wanted to wear it. She told me she no longer wanted to wear her hair out in an “afro” because the other kids in school were making fun of her.

In fact, she said, she no longer liked her natural hair and wanted me to “make it straight.”

-__-

So, yeah … after I got over my initial reaction of wanting to roll up to the school the next morning and start punching random kids in the throat, I got to really thinking about it.

You see, my baby now wants straight hair because she doesn’t want to be different.

Prior to this discussion, I’d always prided myself on the fact that I’m raising a little rock star.

Last year, she began asking me if she could cut her hair into a mohawk.

I was THRILLED!

While everyone around me turned their nose up at the idea, I thought it was awesome that she was so comfortable in her own skin and willing to express her individuality in such a radical way.

Now … here she is, sitting between my legs, crying … in an emotional space where she’s allowed these children to strip her bare because her hair is “ugly” and “poofy”.

And worst of all, they now treat her differently because her hair is … different.

😦

It’s bad enough adults define each other by their hair, I didn’t know children are doing it too.

And before you say adults don’t do this, let’s explore a few things.

If I wear a weave, I’m considered to be afraid of being a black woman to some. I’m considered a woman that’s denying her roots (pun intended) or I trying to assimilate to another cultural groups norms and ideas of beauty.

Oh, I just thought I wanted to add a little length or fullness.

If I take my weave out and wear my hair in its natural curly state, called “sister” by some people (people of all races). Or my hair is “not done.” This past summer, during a period when I wore my hair consistently in its natural curly state, one person said to me, “Damn, E. I guess you just didn’t give a fuck today, huh?”

Was I not your sister when I wore a weave?

(Check out my advice column blog on a similar subject at http://askmeaboutyourlove.wordpress.com/2014/01/27/is-wearing-a-weave-false-advertisement/ )

If I decide to straighten my natural hair, I’ll hear things like, “Oh, you have a lot of hair.”

I’m sorry, did the afro I wore last week mean that I was balding?

The thing about it is, my hair does not define me. Nor does it my daughter.

I am now “less black” because I like to straighten my hair.

I am not unkempt because I choose to wear my hair in its natural, curly state.

For fucks sake IT’S HAIR!

If you want to judge me, do so based off of what you may perceive as flaws in my character, what I contribute to the community, my work ethic … or at least make a fact based attempt.

But my hair, really?!?!

I’m still me. I’m the loving, expressing, intelligent, often times crazy, impatient, stubborn, self-appreciating genius I have always been … flaws and all.

Got a beef with my hair? Write it down on paper, lube it up, and stick it up your ass.

And that’s exactly what I told my baby girl to tell the kids at school.

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Are the People Around You Making Your Miserable?

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Things have been actually been going pretty well for me. For the first time in years, I’m financially “OK”, the job is decent, my belly is full (maybe too full judging from my attempt at shopping for jeans this weekend), and I can really say I’m happy.

Being that that’s the case, I had a hard time figuring out why I had such a shitty week last week.

I had a general case of what my mother likes to call the “blaazays.”

While I may seemed to be doing just fine to the people around me I was having an internal struggle with knowing I was happy, but really feeling “some kinda way.”

Friday came and it seemed like the clouds cleared from the sky and I instantly began to feel like myself again.

I decided to look back on the week and the things that happened to try to figure out what could have been affecting my mood so heavily.

And that’s when it smacked me like group of wired-up teens in a “WORLD STAR” fight compilation video.

The energy of those around me had taken me on an emotional rollercoaster.

Now, stay with me. I swear I’m not crazy. (Or at least a few doctors have attested to the fact.)

Tuesday

Tuesday afternoon it hit me like a ton of bricks. All of a sudden I got up from my desk to get that last afternoon cup of coffee and I started to get upset. Nothing had happened if you exclude the shitty quality of the free coffee the job offers, but I just felt like crap. Soon enough the work day was over and I went to pick up the kids. When I got to my daughter’s school I found her crying over a kid who had stolen some of the candy she’d received at school that day. I handled the situation with the girl and her mom, consoled my baby girl, and we went home.

After that, I moved on with my day.

Wednesday

So I’m sitting at my desk on Wednesday and a co-worker who sits very close to me comes and pours their heart out about trouble they’re having at home. I listened, digested, and tried to offer support, even though this person and I barely spoke prior to this conversation.  They told me things haven’t been going well at home for a while, but they really started coming to a head in the last few days and that they felt comfortable speaking to me about it because I just seemed “open.”

After that, I moved on with my day.

Thursday

On Thursday a very close friend of mine called with terrible news about their health. It was devastating news. We’ve been friends since before puberty and to hear the news and have thoughts about the potential of losing them forever was a hard pill to swallow. They’d apparently learned about the state of their health early in the week and held off telling me as they came to grips with what it all really mean for themselves.

And as hard as it was … after that, I moved on with my day.

So as I sat around Friday trying to make sense of my week I realized other people’s energy greatly affects me.

Now, I obviously don’t mind being so connected with my children that I feel what they feel. I think that’s a great thing.

But, I realized that maybe I am so “open” that I can be fine, but if the energy exuding from others isn’t I’m  a wreck.

This made me think about past relationships, choices, and decisions I made and the people and personalities around me at the time and how their energy may have changed mine.

It made me think about old sayings that caution people about the kinds of people they surround themselves with. Are they good for you? Do they have your best interest at heart? Are the like-minded?

All in all, it made me more aware of myself.

Now ask yourself: are you aware of the energy and people around you?

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