Monday, November 22, 2010

Bonus: Hair truths or hair insecurities

This is a post I wrote a couple of weeks ago and forgot to post. Fitting since I've been thinking hard about hair lately.

m.
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She snickered.

And when I walked a step more, he snickered.

The line of students in the hallway outside of my classroom looked at me as I walked by them, and it could have been for any reason—it could have been because I stand almost six feet tall, as opposed to their small heights; it could be because they were stationary, and I was in motion; it even could have been because I had my keys in my hand, clearly going somewhere off-campus. My immediate line of thought was that they were laughing at my hair.

Don’t get me wrong—my hair is fly today. It’s super breezy outside, and my brown-red hair has been flapping in the strong breeze. My hair has been braided for a few days, and I decided to unbraid it this morning. When I initially braided it, it was after I’d detangled my hair in the shower, so the resulting braid-out was neat, and full of bounce. It’s much bigger than it used to be, and it’s hard to believe that a year and a half ago (which wasn’t that long ago), I had barely an inch of hair, and now I have this mass of kinks and curls flowing from my scalp.

Nevertheless, I’m a natural, and I’m sensitive about my hair. From the first day that I cut it, and even now, a year and some change later, I have heard some of the most interesting/ignorant/hurtful commentary surrounding hair. These comments are probably things that I’d heard before, but did not acknowledge, because they didn’t apply to me, and/or because I just wasn’t listening in the same way that I am now. Why’d you cut your hair? Why is your hair like that? Blasé blasé blasé about “naps.” So and so has good hair. Oh Miss Malorie you have that good hair. How do you get those little curls in your hair?

The comments don’t bother me as much. I can always have an educational moment with someone. I have corrected loved ones and friends when they have joked about “naps” or made commentary about “good hair.” (Whatever the hell that is.) When people asked me why I cut my hair, I told them it was because it was mine to cut. I explained to a coworker that I didn’t have to do anything to get the curls in my hair; that the curls are what God gave me.

It’s the stares that get to me. On occasion, I have noticed people looking at me. I’m well aware of the fact that people could either a). Not actually be looking at me (I bet you think this song is about you…), or b). Be looking at me for a reason that has nothing to do with my hair (i.e. because I am indeed almost six feet tall and walk with undeniable confidence, because of something I’m wearing, or for no reason at all). But whenever I see someone glancing in my direction, I immediately think that they are looking at my hair. Just like the little bad-ass girl in the hallway today, and the little boy at her side. (Don’t judge me, she is a little bad-ass who needs lots of love, and possibly a good ass-whooping.) When they looked up at me and laughed, I linked it automatically to my fro, flapping in the wind.

And although when I went to the restroom to check my hair, it was askew and a little messed up from the breeze all day, am I thinking that people are looking at me because I somehow have some insecurity about my hair? And if they are indeed looking at me, am I immediately linking their stares to negativity because of the fact that I have negative thoughts about my own hair?

Just wondering.

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side note: today when i was walking into work, feeling not 100%due to those fucking nasty ass tacos from the fucking "authentic Mexican restaurant in the Cuban neighborhood that i live in--clearly, that food choice was a mistake a little Pre-K girl, whom I've never talked to before, waved at me and said "I think your hair is pretty." Out the mouths of babes... she made my heart smile.

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