Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Being Fearless

For some reason, when black women are described in popular culture/mass media, words like 'strong', 'fierce', 'sassy' and 'fearless' come up a lot. I don't know why this is, but it is. Is there something in our blood that makes us this way? Or is because we're so accustomed to being described like this that we become this way? I don't have the answer to this; maybe someone else can help me. Because I'm a young black woman, but I don't know about the 'fearless' bit. I'm terrified to death of what I'm about to do, which is basically chop all of my relaxed hair off. Yes, you read that right. I'm going to have less hair on my head than my older brother. Yikes. So note that, far from fearless, I'm sick-to-the-stomach, clutching-at-my-throat, having-weird-dreams-about-it scared. A fearless black woman would say she was scared shitless. But we've already established that I'm not fearless, haven't we?

I love my hair, I think. But I'm dissatisfied with it. It's this straight, boring, characterless thing that obeys all the time. Lie flat. Be a bun. Bounce and be wavy. Yes, Your Majesty. And that's not really me; I like rebelling, and I'm definitely not characterless. People don't forget me in a So, I'm thinking, why keep spending tons of money trying to find the perfect relaxer that will give me shiny, straight, obedient, blah hair? Who wants to be carrying around a blah on their heads, for Pete's sake? Um, not I, said the chicken.

So, I'm going to cut it off. Start afresh, with the hair that God gave me, the way that He gave it to me. I had natural hair for the first fifteen years of my life, and now I wonder about how eager I was to get my first relaxer, how ecstatic I was with the results even though my scalp burned and itched for weeks afterwards, and my hair was all broken off a mere year later. I think about it and I want to kick myself; it's a good thing I'm not that flexible.

I don't remember what my hair was like. Strangely though, I remember one day in SS3, when all of us were washing our hair together, how I soaped my hair and stretched it out and tried to press it down, tried to keep it straight, secretly harboring resentful feelings against my anti-relaxer mum, longing to be able to pack it and pin it and harrass it into compliance so I could look pretty for Friday night. Sad, I know. If I knew then what I know now... Straighter is not better, it's not more beautiful, it's not me.And it's not my hair, either. My hair, whatever its texture, nappy or kinky or whatever, will finally have a chance to shine. And without Dr. Miracle's help, too.

I am not my hair, I know, but I can make it more like me. Strong, healthy, unique, beautiful the way God wanted it to be. Natural. And maybe when I'm done with my Big Chop tomorrow and I leave the stylist shaking his head at this crazy customer, I will be one step closer to knowing what it means to be a strong, fearless black woman.

P.S. If my hair doesn't turn out like Elaine's, or like the chick in the photo's, it's fine, I guess. I'll survive. :D


  1. I enjoyed reading your thoughts. I remember when I cut my hair off last year. I was in school and I kept my hair in a ponytail b/c I was trying to grow out my natural hair without having to cut it.This one particular day I put my hands in my hair to tighten the ponytail and a few strands just came on to my hands. So I didn't go to my math class , instead I went to the hair salon down the block and a man cut my hair down an inch. I went back to school like nothing ever happened. My friends were so surprised and shocked.Its good that your excepting you for you.My blog is just in case you want to see some pics of my hair now :)

  2. This is weird; I skipped a math class to cut my hair too! Lol... Thanks, I'll definitely drop by!