I’m a curly girl. That means I wear my hair the way God gave it to me. Kinky, springy, corky, curls frame my face and sit atop my head like my crown of glory. I wear it stretched into a loose curly fro or tightly coiled to show off my natural curl pattern. I can straighten it, tuck it away in a cute updo, or cover it up in a fly scarf. Options.
Sometimes my choice to express my options confuses people. “Did you cut your hair?” I often get that weird bug-eyed look when I wear my hair stretched and folks realize how long it actually is. It used to be mid- back. But since I’ve cut it my curls are in a dope tapered cut. What really gets me are the vague comments that leave me stupefied. For instance, “your hair is getting crazier and crazier.” Yes, someone actually said that to me, out loud, to my face. I’ve gotten a few side-eyes from some that think my curls are unprofessional. Clearly, my full-time career as a librarian (a profession I might add) has not been hindered by my hair.
What is all this rambling for?
I recognize a lack of discussion, simple conversation. That is, instead of those who are curious about my hair, or natural hair in general, sparking a discussion with me they seem to generalize and divide. Unfortunately, this leads to awful assumptions like I’m an unprofessional, militant, mad black woman. When that is just not the case. I have experienced conversations with people who express their curiosity. Those conversations have been so pleasant. I have little tolerance for judgmental people who isolate themselves from the learning and exploration process.
Most devastating; however, young girls with beautiful coils are left with the impression that their hair is unattractive. Which, in their minds, means they too are unattractive. What kind of lesson is that to teach a little girl? And let’s not forget that their likeness is not represented well in pop culture where beauty is perpetuated as straight hair with a slim frame. Maybe we have evolved just a little from these damaging disparities, but we still have a long way to go. Evolution comes when a little girl can just be in her space; beautiful and unbothered.
We unwittingly contribute to the thinking of pop culture when we do not stop to have a conversation with each other. It is a wonder how far into clarity a simple conversation will get us. So let’s make it a personal mandate to talk. Have a conversation with a stranger! Be curious and stop making judgments. You may gain a lifelong friend.
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