| Hair |

31 05 2010

I’ve always hated what God threw on my head. 

It was too coarse: not long enough, nappy: which of course implied that I was less than my classmates whose hair reflected that somewhere inside their history, their moms and daughters had the genes of goddesses.  See they can control the living beings on their head; and in their control their hair became adornment, not a curse, like the one my head wore.

I guess it started when I was six and my older sister was eight.  I have the best older sister in the world by the way.  She is gorgeous inside and out…and didn’t mean to do what happened next, honestly.

We had watched so many “Just for Me” kiddy perm commercials that we decided it was our time to be made beautiful like the little black girl on the box with her pink and green berets and cute outfit.  Perhaps the hair will fix the rest of us, we thought.  So she decided to give me a perm.  We had to hurry before our mom got back from the grocery store; perms didn’t take that long right?  My sister and I searched underneath my mom’s counter for a few minutes but could only find a bottle of white strong-smelling stuff, not a box like the commercials advertised.

So she put it in.  It smelled bad so of course it had to be relaxer.  We waited and waited. Neither of us knew what to do after the stuff was applied to my head.  Swinging my legs back and forth under the rickety chair, we both missed the sound of the front door opening which meant my dad was home.  He came upstairs and horror read on his face.

He rushed to find some scissors and started cutting away at my beautifully now relaxed hair.  I cried in protest.  I tried to prevent him from cutting anymore and placed my hands in my hair…and started pulling away clumps of it.  I cried even more.  After my dad had cut away some of my hair, he washed out the rest of the white substance.  And then went to work giving me a low-cut.  I looked like a boy and I didn’t understand why.  I didn’t understand what had happened and why I came in with curly and now left with no hair.

        The makers of Nair should really label their bottles better.  

My first “relaxer experience” stole my hair from me.  It stole the image of beauty I did not know I already had but also desperately longed for.  A relaxer can do that to a woman.  It can make her so desperate for something she will never find that she loses herself in order to worship it. It becomes a god.

Unfortunately, I still worship.   My hair has to be straight for some reason or else I look “unkempt”, “crazy”, “dirty.”  I hate Africa.  We hate Africa.  We hate our roots.  We burn them away hoping they will purify who God made us to be into what man has taught us we are supposed to be.  We burn away curly roots: we commit chemical arson and flat-iron massacres on our roots that tell of a history that is not straightforward but turns inwards into itself and loops around and gets tangled and accurately reflects more than any other hair what this human life is about. 

We hate our roots.




One response

31 05 2010

Deep…real deep

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