“Give me hair – long beautiful hair” is a proud declaration in a rather famous song. Of course, The Bible famously references a woman’s hair as being part of her “crowning glory.” But for many women of color, and black women in particular, hair is a four letter word synonymous with every other curseword and derisive insult. As a black woman, I have had more than my fair share of struggles with my hair – it has been curly, it has been straight, it has been in cornrows (which looked awful by the way), it has had weaves of every conceivable length and color. Right now, I have microbraids which look professional, are blessedly low maintenance, and still allow me to express my personality (they have quite a unique color and pattern, which is something many people associate with me). My braids allow me to be playful, and most importantly – they protect my hair and let me celebrate my identity.
The more I explore Af Am History and celebrate the idea of self – almost ironic, since I took a similarly titled class in college years ago – the more comfortable I become with my own body, and the less I care. Ultimately, I have come to realize that others may disagree with my choices, but I need to make them and live my life the way that feels most authentic and organic to me. I no longer have the capacity to care – if someone is offended by the choices I make, the things I do, or anything else – then that will remain very much their problem. At this point, that is likely the healthiest option and best way for me to enjoy self-preservation. And all of this stemmed from a short, introspective reflection about my hair.