Don’t touch me

It’s another hot day up here (when will they end?) and I have a long day since I will be taking part in a community forum as part of my job this evening. So I suggested to the Spousal Unit and son, that we have lunch at Pizza Hut since I am in no mood to cook, thanks to a summer cold, oppressive heat and work. So the family came to pick me up from the office and we hit the local Pizza Hut.

It was a good time despite the lousy food, when I suddenly feel someone touching my hair. I look up and see an elderly white woman muttering something about nice, beautiful and I just wanted to touch your hair. Wait! What the fuck are you doing? I start trying to avoid her gnarled hands like I was Neo in the Matrix, moving closer to my daughter in the booth and even putting my hand up saying “PLEASE DON’T TOUCH MY HAIR

It’s not the first time in my 8 years in Maine I have had a white person reach out and attempt to touch my hair, after all I did have dreadlocks for 5 years but this was the first time I have ever encountered someone who did not respect my desire to stop trying to touch me. For a millisecond I felt reduced to less than human status and even my husband who is a laid back man told the woman “Please don’t touch my wife’s hair” There was a second when I thought he was about to lay hands on Granny. Eventually she and her party mosey’d on with her no doubt wondering what the issue was, but damn it, don’t touch my hair.

Look, I realize seeing a Black woman with braids may be a novelty  but reaching out to touch one is just a bad idea and frankly the only thing that stopped Granny from getting her fingers broke was the fact that she was elderly.  I am still not sure if that was a great idea but hey, I was raised to treat folks with respect even when its questionable if they deserve it.

So to my fellow humans of the white hue, don’t ever reach out and try to touch a Black woman’s hair…it could be hazardous to your health.

Time to talk hair

Yes indeed, it’s that time again. Time to talk about my hair, now if you are not a Black woman there is a good chance this post might not be your cup of tea. On the other hand it could be enlightening, so consider sticking around. Regular readers know its been a while since I have written about my hair, after all last year after years of growing dreadlocks I decided to cut them. Well the small fro I had after cutting off inches of hair has now grown out and I am at that place hair wise I hate to be. Long story short, my hair is a mess and its a length that really I find it difficult to do much of anything with.

The truth is I really am not a hair person. Let’s see, I went natural (that means no chemical straighteners have touched this head in over 10 years, and the last chemical color was about 7 years ago) and the first couple of years of being natural I rocked a short fro. It was a total wash and go and I loved it; but then we moved to Maine and I decided to grow my hair out. That lasted for 2 years and was what I look back on as the ugly period since there really wasn’t a lot I could do to my hair until it had some significant length which it did by the time I decided to loc in 2004.

Well the locs were good for a while but living in Maine with no one to help me hands on with my locs led me to free form and eventually led me to say buh bye to them as well. It was really lack of good maintenance that killed my locs, in fact looking back on my decade in naps I can say that barring the times I have rocked the TWA my hair is generally not as healthy as it can be. That may sound silly but when it comes to doing my hair those skills passed me by, perhaps it was because I was well into high school before my Mom let me actually start managing my hair. Seriously, she refused to have me going out with a raggedy head as she would call it, so she often would oversee my coif. The result being I barely can braid and when I do you damn sure ain’t going outside in it and well my attempts at twisting, etc…um, it sux. I suspect if I had someone up here who could sit down and show me it might come together but honestly even looking at you tube videos doesn’t seem to help.

So you are probably asking um…where are you going with this? Well until yesterday I figured I’d keep living with my hair situation but I went to my local Aveda salon for my eyebrow waxing and we ended up talking about my hair. Long story short they explained they have a process of thermal straightening that could loosen my curls to make my hair more manageable.

I’m going to be honest, at first I was like hell to the naw, I am happy to be nappy, no chemicals here…all the things that good nappy hair disciples do. Some of ya’ll might be asking what am I talking about but I know some of ya’ll know exactly what I am talking about. Going natural as a Black woman is liberating, it really is, at least in the early days you feel like you have a new lease on life. You feel like you have instant camaraderie with other natural sistas, you feel amazing, freed…oh its a beautiful thing. 

Well 10 years into this journey, what I am about to say is blasphemy to nappy heads but really its just hair. Yes chemicals are bad, and by all means you should avoid them if at all possible. But sometimes being natural ain’t all it’s cracked up to be either. See, the reason I went natural initially was because I knew I was moving to Maine and figured there would be no one to do my hair. That is really what prompted me to give up the creamy crack, my relaxed hair was always healthy, no breakage, no issues.  I admit I did not like feeling in bondage to the hair salon for that weekly maintenance but lets keep it real, too many naturals are always looking for that elusive product to “manage” their curls. Ya know you know what I am talking about.  They trade one addiction for another, I have seen it too many times. In the past decade I have seen many sistas embrace being natural at least on the surface but deep down they are grappling with how beautiful they will be perceived as, if they rock a TWA, locs, etc. I know, I was there and man I fought those demons, days when I just knew I looked ugly. But guess what? I didn’t care, for me being natural at least in the early days allowed me to see true beauty in myself but at this stage in the game, I will be honest. I just want hair that is manageable. I am not a fan of super short hair…can I tell you on cold days I miss my locs.

I would consider going back to locks but I truly believe they have a spiritual component and I am not there yet. I found what I needed with that first set, peace and acceptance in so many areas of my life but I am not ready to return. I keep saying just let my fro grow but then I keep coming back to grow into what? Last time I let it grow eventually that path led to dreads.

So I will be honest, I have no idea what direction I am about to take on the hair path, could involve chemicals, could be braids, might just say fuck it and crop it again. Yet no matter what I  do, I am more than just my hair and while my journey to me may have started with my hair it does not end with my hair.

Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t even decided whether I am going to have my hair treated, last night I was pumped up about this. This morning the $300 price tag has me thinking a trip to the sista who trimmed my fro is in order so I can explore more reasonable options that might keep me natural but I will be honest no longer am I am militant natural.

I have enjoyed the journey but I am not defined by my hair…hell I define me.

We be Negros, now get away from me…

The past day or so has been personally challenging for me, I am going through my monthly leave me the fuck time of month, work has been crazy and we have family visiting from 2000 miles away. The sort of shit that makes a sista just want to scream.  So this morning, I called one of my good sista friends who lives not far away, and told her she needed to scoop a sista up for breakfast before I lost my mind this morning and snapped on everyone up in this beyotch which I would figured would be bad form when the in-laws are visiting. After a decade of officially being in the family, I suspect they still think I am bit out there but hey its all good.

So when my girl rolled up, I decided we should go eat at the local spot I eat at every Friday, they make a mean breakfast burrito sans meat plus I had my bottle of Thai hot sauce in my purse since I was ready for eggs and heat. (note: does anyone other than a Black woman carry hot sauce in her bag?) The particular place we were headed is a place I have been eating at for years, the folks that work there almost border on being friends, they are cool folks, of course being in Maine, they are white, but shit they cook right, so that is all that matters when my tummy is growling.

Anyway T & I pull up and walk into the spot, I ask the waitress if she can still hook me up with breakfast since I knew breakfast was ending, she was like “Black girl for you no problem” So me and T sit down and I am ready to order. Now in case you haven’t figured out T is Black like me, we rarely get together because our schedules never mesh but we have the type of relationship that if one of us needs something we are there for the other. All this to say, we rarely are in the same place at the same time.

Well apparently it was the day for fools to look us up and down, I admit I was oblivious since I was just sipping my coffee but T who actually lives in the same town as the Bush family was like “why all these folks looking like they crazy” so I look up and sure enough I see a big homey white woman walking towards a sista, talking about my hair…. I am too tired to get too detailed but next thing I knew she is asking me about my hair and how I do it, then her husband gets in on the action and next thing you know these strange ass white folks is touching a sista’s locs. Noooooooo. The waitress is looking mortified, she is a bit of a roughneck so she tries to intervene, mind you I am already having a bad day.

Now nobody got hurt and I did end up having my breakfast and blowing off steam but not before the adult child of the two nimrods apologized profusely on behalf of her parents. After the dust settled my girl says to me that knowing my temper, she was surprised at how calm I was, truth is so was I. I hate people touching me and I hate people touching my locs even more especially since they were partially covered. That said, I knew it was the time and place to just be chill because I was already so mad this morning that had I snapped at the bumbling white folks, well.. a sista might not be writing this at the moment since I would be at the county lock-up and that’s no joke.

Getting old is teaching me when to let some things go and this was one of those times, but damn, yes I am Black, I have dreadlocks and yes I live here in town and I do know the family that runs this joint, so get the hell away from me, you crazy ass mofo.