Sunday, July 09, 2006
I Am Not My Hair
I never thought I’d say this, but I’m feeling grateful for dirty old men right about now.
Let me back up. I should first say, I apologize for being gone so long. I went on vacation and I couldn’t bear to get on my computer, even if it was to blog. Now that my hiatus is over it’s time to spill the beans on what I’ve been up to. Ready? Here goes …
I CUT MY HAIR
And I mean, SHORT. For those of you who have been following along, I decided to lock my hair in January. I’ve been getting my hair cut and gradually growing the relaxer out. Most recently I was sporting micro braids, which gave my hair a curly appearance. I planned to keep the braids until my hair grew to a reasonable length for locking. But braiding takes all day, so this week I went to my hairdresser (who is also my aunt) and told her to cut off the chemically treated hair that remained and do something with my natural hair. She did and tied my remaining hair up into tiny, gel twists shown here.
I like my new ‘do, but I’ve been feeling a bit insecure because I’ve never had short hair before. And what do I do when I’m feeling insecure? I go see Mom, who has not been supportive of my natural hair journey. Here are some of the comments I got:
“Wow. I mean … wow.”
“Well, do you like it?”
“Wear bright lipstick so people won’t think you’re a boy.”
“Come back when your hair is straight.”
“Yep, you’re really African.”
That’s Moms for you. It’s a good thing I have a sense humor. So far, I’m getting the reaction that I expected from everybody. My mom and stepdad hate it, a few of my friends and my hairdresser say they love it.
While I was on vacation, I was able to see LeftBehind. I learned that he, like most brothas, has a hair issue. He doesn’t know about my natural plans and told me how much he loved the braids. His exact words were, “I’m a big fan of curly hair.” Then I met his mother later, who now has short hair. She says LB was mad at her because she cut her hair. Sigh. If he only knew what was going on with my head.
So I was wondering what kind of reaction I would get from the fellas the first day I went outside practically sporting my scalp. I did a little walk/run around my apartment complex. Now that I have less hair, I wear lipstick and earrings when I work out so I’m not confused for a boy. (Hey, there may be something to Mom’s advice!) I’m running down the street when I see an older man across the street staring at me. I’m wondering if he has me confused with somebody else, because I just know he can’t have lust in his eyes as he stares at lil’ old baldheaded me. But our eyes meet and he looks me up and down and smiles. That was a serious ego boost. It took everything in me not to run across the street and hug him. Sigh. You gotta love the dirty old men. You can be baldheaded, sweaty and downright funky but they’ll still think you’re a queen.
The true test of the hair will come tomorrow, when I’m sure it will scare the White People at work. Like LeftBehind, they liked my hair in the micro braids. Actually, their knowledge of Black Hair is so limited that they’re amazed even when I do simple things, like part my hair on a different side.
It’ll take some adjustment for everyone, me included, to get used to my new ‘do. But it’ll grow faster this way and then I’ll move onto the next phase of my journey, which is the actual locking process. Until then, I won’t leave the house without wearing a dress, earrings or lipstick. Then I’ll stand in my full-length mirror for forever, reciting the chorus to India.Arie’s “I Am Not My Hair.” Yet I know that if I find out that I’m going to see LeftBehind again, I might have to run and get a hot comb or something. I’m not that strong … yet.
(Photo courtesy of http://www.eftal.com/ezimagecatalogue/catalogue/variations/31-400x500.jpg)