Someone told me today that abandoning my monthly retwist schedule and choosing to free form was the most “irresponsible thing I could do as such a driven and ‘level headed’ woman.” Besides the fact that I was blatantly offended by being called irrational - by implication of being the opposite of ‘level headed’ - but also felt pained by the idea that by doing this, I was somehow being “irresponsible.” To who? By what? As a black woman? Student? Soon-to-be college graduate? I just laughed. I didn’t know what else to say. I was so taken a back by their narrow mindedness that I was speechless. But if I did have a response, it would sound something like this:
As an African American woman, living in a world where normative expectations dictate the course of my behavior, thought and aesthetic, I acknowledge the irrevocable fact that if I desire to be accepted by everyone, I would have to portray myself as not being so “marked” with ethnic pride, righteousness and cultural arrogance. I can always find other ways to express my love and endearment for my Black heritage without throwing it in someone else’s face to quickly digest without a trace of apprehension. But the real question is, why can’t I make that decision of wearing my hair in the way I choose? I never asked to be born with kinky, coiled, dense African hair. Nor did I request to have skin the color of burnt mahogany. Or lips as full as a swollen thumb. Did I declare the world to be held at a standard that I could not reach without completely distorting my entire outer appearance to blend in with the sea of the unmarked? I wasn’t aware that I made a statement saying I wanted to completely strip myself of absolute autonomy over my identity to live - silently and ashamed - with a mask as a face. Yes, I will go to school and learn. I will go to college and receive a degree. I will develop my interests and conduct extensive research on the issues I feel so passionately for and defend my dissertation in front of a boardroom of khaki colored faces, masked with synthetic hope and shifty eyes, awaiting my hidden findings of the world in 20,000 words or less. I will contribute to my field, teach brilliant minds, awaiting to further on in their journey toward a brighter tomorrow. And yes, I will sacrifice a part of my personal security for protection from the state in exchange for constitutional freedoms. But I will never allow something so innate to the human being to be controlled and manipulated and spat on by rotten mouthed elitists saying that I can’t let my hair grow as it wishes. Uninhibited, liberated, free, radical at the core, good natured, at peace.
I'm a free-spirt.
A thinker; a lover; a caregiver.
I don't eat meat.
I care about feelings other than my own.
I have a lot to say.
See you on the moon.