Sunday, November 21, 2010

"I am not my hair" or am I?

I'm going to tell you the truth. I've never listened to India.Arie's I Am Not My Hair. With my computer having no memory, and thus having no iTunes (ever since the crash, R.I.P. to my 3000+ songs), my iPod hasn't been updated since Nicki Minaj was an unknown to the mainstream world. (Man, I kind of miss those days.)

Despite my having never listened to the song, however, I'm very aware of the fact that it's an anthem for women who have gone natural. I'm assuming, having never listened to the song and feeling too shitty right now to give you an external link to the lyrics, or look up the lyrics myself that it has become such because of the fact that women going natural can alwayssometimes encounter a lot of drama over something as simple as hair. You have to consistently remind yourself that it's just hair when people are asking you why you cut it, or why you would want to be natural. People can unintentionally pass a lot of judgment when it comes to a woman's choice to embrace her natural hair texture.

But, have those in the natural hair community ever thought about the fact that maybe we are passing judgment on those who do not have natural hair?

Today, as I was sitting in bed feeling like a Mack truck had run over my back numerous times, I thought about changing my hair. I thought about either locking it, or even *gasp* going back to the creamy crack. (And yes, I have seen Good Hair.) And as soon as I had that thought, I shook it away, as though it was not an appealing option. Like it's something I'm not supposed to do.

Well, wait.... rewind. I thought Arie said I am not my hair. But it seems like that motto doesn't apply in every situation. It's fine for me to say "I am not my hair" when I'm going to chop it off and go natural, but if I'm going from natural back to relaxed, then the attitude that seems to be displayed is something like awww man, you gave up. It's disappointment. And I know this because on the couple of occasions when I have encountered women who were natural, and decided to go back to being relaxed, I felt kind of disappointed. But, why did I feel that way? Because they weren't embracing what God gave them? Because they gave up on the fight?

But why does it have to be a fight? If I am not my hair, then it shouldn't matter what I do with it, right? I should be able to shave half my hair off, I should be able to be natural, I should be able to wear it however.

This is not a dictation as to where I'm going with my hair journeymaybe more like a hint, but I just think if I really am not my hair, then I need to act more like it. No matter what I choose to do with it.

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