And to think it happened on South High St…
I can see you, out the corner of my eye. Not even because you’re staring so hard, but because I know. I’m conscious of it. I get it. It’s different. I know that every time I choose to…exist, it catches your eye.
I mean, look at it: all bronze and golden, glistening. Perched high. It got a little frizzy so I pulled it to the front of my head. And it’s just, there. You can’t miss it.
But trust me, I get it. I’d never really seen one a few years ago. Braided, pressed, curled, fried, dyed, and laid to the side, certainly, but never like this. I remember back when I had something like it. All I ever longed for was the Blue Magic and the Motions. I remember my first wrap-scarf. Man. I had a crisp part down the middle, with it tucked perfectly behind my ears.
My mom was so proud of it, too. Very few girls on my block had it so long and thick and flowing. I mean, eventually, that changed. The high school-age dye phase really did a number on the middle. I had to cut it. I even started using synthetics when I was in undergrad.
One time, this girl named Annie was putting the no-lye creamy crack around the perimeter and she just asked me (very bluntly might I add), “Why? You don’t even need it.” I had been running around that night begging for someone to do my application. It needed to be straight. The little spirals just wouldn’t let me be great and they had to be tended to.
So, I get it. It shocked the hell out of me as well. I never thought I would be walking around looking like this, wondering who was behind me scowling at the back of my head. I know you can’t see past me at the movie theater; that it makes you feel uncomfortable because it’s so unkempt. It’s such a distraction; unprofessional, even.
I understand, and I want you to know from the bottom of my heart that I sincerely couldn’t care less.
I love it! It’s truly my pride and jewel; Yahweh’s work of art. Do you know how long it took for me to not only find this version of myself but to accept it and love it?
I know, I look different and it sets me apart—which is probably the most alluring pleasure. Sometimes it’s twisted; last week I even pinned the twists around my head. I think my favorite version is the wavy—you just take it when it’s stretched and … Never mind.
You don’t really care about it. You don’t care that for the majority of my life I thought I couldn’t’ be beautiful if I didn’t fit the description: a pretty brown woman with shoulder length (or longer) straight hair. I had to have a relaxer. My kitchen needed to be straightened. An afro? Lol, whet?
No one ever told me I had good hair when it was in an afro; only when it was straightened. Colleagues approached me with the similar face you’re wearing (don’t try to fix it now), asking “how’d you get it so straight?”
I see you, every time I walk into the meeting. As I’m walking from my car. As I’m sipping my margarita. You just can’t help yourself.
But how could you? After all the scrutiny she’s subjected to. The scorning, poking and prodding, stretching and attempts to align. Despite it all, look at her, sitting atop my head in all her glory.
So yes, I get it. You don’t see this that often. It’s cool, right (not really seeking your approval; just engaging you like decent folk do)? It took me 21 years to finally find the crown that I was born with. I know, blows my mind as well.
But, while I’m running my mouth, let me make sure it’s sitting up right. And no need to apologize because I caught your eyes scanning me like a copy machine. Go ahead and stare. Because you’re not apologetic, and neither am I.