Since I stepped on the playground I have been “the black girl with the long hair”. It followed me. It defined me. Never realizing it, it even made decisions for me. No swimming. I could not sacrifice my press. No eclectic dress. It was reserved for the Solanges and Erykahs. No dancing too hard. No working out. No sun beaming on my chocolate skin for more than 10 minutes. No anything anti my long straightened hair. Welcome to the prison of the press. My cell, my hair, but to others a mansion. Women awwed at it and men praised it. No comments on the beauty of personality. Somehow they got lost in the superficial eurocentric “beauty” of my hair. Yet I never knew it, until one day it all came crashing down.
I woke up, walked passed the mirror and it happened. The game-changing moment. I felt a “me” and I saw another “me.” Two of me… and someone had to go. They refused to live side by side anymore, deciding my frame was too small to house them both. I had accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior so I had grown tremendously spiritually, yet remained the same physically. Spiritually I was anew and my spirit begged of the same from my physical appearance. It begged me to give up my insecurities and pointed to my hair. But there was no way I was going to give up my prized possession. It had been a part of me for so long and at that moment it seemed like I could never survive without her. So I hurriedly walked away from the mirror, frightened by the revelation in my reflection.
And then I came back. The liberation waiting in the pit of my soul would no longer be confined. It ate my entire body alive until I seemed to burst at my seams. Undeniable, I gave in and the moment I did the world seemed to change. It seemed brighter. With tears of relief pouring from my eyes, I realized I had been released from one of the heaviest and longest burdens I had ever carried. My hair. I was relieved to no longer be under the command of my hair. Relieved to no longer be defined by it. Relieved to no longer have to bow down to the kingdom of the press. I could be me. Uninterruptedly me.
So here I am today. Once thinking the image of the girl with long hair going bald was some fairytale. Stereotypical and unreal. Transformed into the testimony I mocked and ran from. Kind of funny right the paths chosen for us?