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I am a woman

I am a black woman.

I am a black woman who doesn’t care about her hair.

I'm the super tall one in the back.

 

 

I grew up a tomboy that didn’t mind wearing dresses.

I spent more time riding my bike than practicing how to put on makeup.

My mom used to put a couple corn rows in my hair to avoid my tender head and anxious body.

 

 

 

 

As I grew older my aunt would say things about my hair and take me to the salon with her every two weeks.

Until I graduated high school, my aunt and I performed this ritual, and because of it, I can say I’ve probably had every hair style imaginable-

Flat twists, perms, Goddess braids, curls, plaits, bobs, long weaves to my back, and everything in between.

 

 

In college, no one cared about my hair.

When the new growth outgrew my staple wrap style, I lived with the puff.

The ‘puff’ had been the most consistent, convenient, and comfortable style I rocked.

 

As my aunt grew farther by distance, she revealed herself in friends of friends, colleagues, and presumably the general public.

People always asked questions about my hair and my maintenance schedule.

Natural hair that looked like natural hair wasn’t such a big ‘trend’ back then.

 

 

When I was too busy worried about my future, my career, and how to make ends meet,

my African American friends were worried about my hairstyles.

When I was doing their work, and forking over cash to merely survive,

No one asked me why I wore my “nappy” hair.  No one asked if I was happy.  They only cared about their opinion.

 

 

When I saw Gabby Douglas, it all came back to me.

When I heard how she was treated, my heart went out to her.

Here she was striving for greatness, and people were worried about small things.

Their hair issues derive from their own insecurities and false standards of beauty.

 

 

 

Though I have adapted a new very low maintenance hairstyle, people still talk about my hair.

Whether they look in amazement or in disgust,

I love myself,

and I love my nappy, undone hair.

 

It covers my intuitive and successful mind.

 

-Renee Gardner