Imagine you wake up in the morning from a long night of shea moisture and bantu knot twisting. Your arms are sore from the hours of detangling and wrestling your hair to stay in place. After you let your hair out of it’s bonnet cage and see the magnificent curls look just right, you smile to yourself. You walk out of the front door with confidence because you actually got your twist-out to look good (because 90% of the time it turns out looking like Edward Scissorhands). Your fro is big and beautiful and bounces with each step. You get approving looks, nods, and the occasional high five from other sisters and brothers that appreciate your kinky curls. Then you sit down at your seat/desk/anywhere and the “it” happens. In your peripheral you see these alabaster hands coming at you. This time you’re not quick enough to react and before you can dodge the attack, their claws sink themselves into your hair and clamp on tight! Then the perpetrator says something along the lines of:
“It’s so soft, like a cloud!”
“How do you get your hair to do that?”
“Is that your real hair?”
This is something that I, and many curly haired people, have had to experience. As a black woman who has had a vast amount of different hairstyles (box braids, afro, half-up half-down, etc.), I’ve had to experience this intrusion of personal space and these types of microaggressions all my life.
Even when I was a little girl, I’ve been struggling to accept my curls. I distinctly remember watching shows like Hannah Montana, Wizards of Waverly Place, and Good Luck Charlie where the female leads had beautiful, long, straight hair. I’d constantly ask myself why my hair couldn’t be like that, so I asked my mom. She told me that my hair doesn’t do that naturally and it would never be like Miley Cyrus’s, but it was still beautiful. I didn’t believe her.
Still, I struggle with loving myself and my hair. Each day has its own battles but, 9 times out of ten, I love who I am.
But please do not, and I repeat, DO NOT touch my hair.