Don’t Touch My Hair

The summer before I went to college, I decided to do the big chop. Cut off my hair within inches of the scalp to get rid of the perm and go natural. Transitioning was great as I have naturally curly hair, which I now realize is a blessing. I always wore my hair out, in a fro embracing the tight kinks and coils that that formed under just a drop of water.

My hair bought plenty of attention from friends and often strangers. They were interested in how the fro felt. While some asked permission to touch, others felt free roaming their fingers carefree through the curls. Comments about how it was so soft would follow.

The words: Don’t touch my hair, frequently ran through my mind.

I regret not saying that phrase enough. Not only to the people that touched my hair, but those that talked about it. I cannot pinpoint a time when I was ever teased as child. I was never bullied for being overweight, or for the color of my skin.

However, I can still replay perfectly comments said by family members about my hair.

           “If you want to go out with your hair lookin’ a mess like that, fine!”

            “What is wrong with your hair?!”

           “You just need to keep a perm.”

In my eyes, hair equated to uniqueness and defined who I was. To have the people closest to me criticize it was devastating.

When I was going to a job interview a few months back I was asked, “You’re going to an interview with dreads in your head?!” I was completely thrown off by the question because I forgotten that this was relevant to some.

It has been challenging, yet rewarding to learn that I can’t seek approval and find my identity in what others think of me.

I have to define myself and what beauty means to me. The hands and words of others cannot touch my hair. Kinky, curly, straight, weave, dreads, no hair- it should all be embraced. One of the most refreshing things about generation is that we don’t have to conform to specific standard of beauty. It just needs to be realized.

 Blue Ivy makes appearance in new Beyoncé video! Side Note: Have a listen to the Bruno Mars song “Perm”. Shameless plug for my favorite      jam right now. Catchy, and sort of relevant to the topic.

Stability

A few months ago, I was talking with one of my coworkers. She was stressed out and excited all at once. Two major things were happening: An engagement and a new house. Although she was overwhelmed with wedding and housewarming plans, I could tell that this was the happiest she had been, probably in her entire life.

What young adult wouldn’t be? She had everything figured out. She planned to work the same job for the next 30 years until retirement, and come to the same home every day knowing that her family would be there to greet her.

Now, I wouldn’t say that I was jealous (although planning a wedding is something that I long to do) but, I did begin to think about where I was in my own life. My coworker, who was only a slightly older than me had just bought her “forever home”, as she called it. I admired the stability and started to want the same.

Stability looks different to everyone. A few years ago, if someone asked me what I wanted to do in life I would say that I wanted to be a wife and mom in by early 20s and spend the rest of days in the suburbs, taking care of my husband and 4-6 kids. In college, I spent most of my time obsessing, dreaming, and idolizing that plan. Once I got married, my dreams would come true; life would be stable and truly begin.

A proposed blueprint:

  • Age 22- Meet a guy, date 1-2 years
  • Age 24- Get married
  • Age 25: Have a house and at least 1 child

Now when I look back at that strategy, I giggle and shake my head. Is this plan plausible? For some, yes, but for me, not at all. I came to that realization in New York City.

It was Spring Break and my best friend and I were waiting in the standby line for tickets to see Saturday Night Live. Sitting outside in 20 degree weather for over 24 hours meant very little sleep or communication. There was time to think.

I thought about how I was 22 years old and wasn’t even close to saying “I do”, and starting my dream. These were thoughts that I had often. They haunted me, in a way.

But, at around 4 am, as onlookers were passing, cheering us on, or letting us know how crazy we were, I came to a realization: I was in my favorite city, with my best friend, waiting in line like a lunatic to see my favorite tv show. This was one of my dreams!

For the longest time, I had been so focused on marriage to fulfil my dreams that I forgotten I was already living. That day changed my outlook. I was no longer waiting around for my life to start or become stable.

That was a few years ago and the journey has been nerve wrecking, yet inspiring. I am learning more about myself each day and what I want for my life. I have decided that I want to write, I want to travel the world (cliché, I know), and I want to help others. Having recently been diagnosed with diabetes, I have decided to make changes to my lifestyle.

I have also decided that I will not narrow down my options for dreams or goals, like the blue print above. Next year, I may discover that I have a heart for teaching and start a Master’s program in education. Or, I may meet a guy, fall in love fast, buy a forever home, and still have 4-6 kids before age 30. I do know that I will live this life for me and create stability wherever I am.

This peek into my life will detail experiences, stories, and hopefully inspire others along the way.