Once again, I come to you with an un-understandable question.
So the other day, while walking under a clear blue sky, golden sun rays bathing and activating the full potential of my melanin; I got stopped by a concerned elderly lady. She felt I was putting myself at risk and only inviting trouble by my current lifestyle.
Okay, we know I stay confused about most things in life because I am a general scatter-brain and live in my head; but on this day, her statement upended all my thought processes. Starting from the fact that she was a stranger, of whom I knew not of, and could not possibly know about my life. As well as the fact that she said, my lifestyle will only attract mentally unstable people to me… well…
I thought she was clairvoyant or something. because at that time, I was struggling with a pyschopathic stalker that was gradually turning my life into a living hell. And in my mind, I imagined maybe she was “sent” to me to tell me how to stop attracting people with deep seated issues. Or maybe she was going to tell me of my own deep seated issues. But, according to the law of magnetics like repels like, so I doubt I have any issues (wink). Even though according to Pastors you get what you attract… Okay let’s not delve into that, tis the season to be merry not a season to brush hard against possible truths.
Anyway I wanted to know about my life or at least what she knew about it; so I asked, “que pasa?”. And she said, the fact that my hair was not combed and looking wild will only attract the mentally ill or as she put it, “mad people will be following you everywhere, because they will think you are one of them”.
I was stunned.
You know the kind of stunned that heightens your senses. I mean the very kind of stunned that makes time stands still and pushes the sounds of a million singing birds and a billion marching ants straight into your hearing. The only kind of stunned that makes you notice every minute detail of what is going on around you.
And in that noticing, I realized that she was wearing the Womens Fellowship uniform of her church. And I thought, “well isn’t that funny”.
It wasn’t. So I asked, “do you believe in God?”
And she looked at me like I was crazy before saying, “of course!”.
And then I asked, ” do you think God is mad?”
At that point, I felt like she was within an inch of giving me a ‘how dare you question the sanity of our great God’ slap. But I didn’t let her recover enough to react or respond. Her answer was quite irrelevant to me.
So I said, “I am asking because this is how he made my hair to come out of my head, and if you think it resembles a mad person’s hair, then I wonder what that says of the creators decision”. And I walked away.
First of all, I didn’t have the time to enagage in a proper conversation. And by quickly doing a mental calculation of her age; I decided I was not ready to attempt to unpack decades of wrong thinking. So I gave her something to think about, dropped the mic, and walked away.
However, the rest of the day was spent thinking about what she , said. And one of the things that baffled me the most is the fact that, one of the major flacks natural hair gets is the universal association with mental illness or an unbalanced mind. Because I mean only a loony walks outside their house without straightened, slick backed hair, right?
No need to answer, I am just…. argggghhhhhh….
The real question is how did we get to this point?
People fear what they do not understand and strands of hair, showing each other love by intertwinning themselves is one of those things… I guess (rolls eyes).
What I know about the afro type strands are that, they curl, coil and band together. But might not be a reflection of what you in your infinite wisdom knew was going to be the constant product of the struggle of black people. Communual living and being close knit is part of the black identity, especially the African one, and might that not be why it is reflected in every fabric of our being, even our hair. As opposed to say, the single strand individuality of some other groups of people, yes that is me throwing shade.
I know you do not make mistakes. And your creations are the result of the genuis strokes of your masterful pen. But then, genuises are mostly misunderstood and thought to be unbalanced. Or dare I say the word… mad.
And if I am of YOU, and YOU are in me, then I need some more of “this” madness because these scripts and stories are not going to write or tell themselves.
But in the meantime, how do we adequately retain moisture all year round in our curls and coils, while they insist on snuggling up on each other, because I tell you THAT is the real struggle.
Awaiting your response… on the moisture part,
Images from Flickr; Featured Image; Black Attitude by Jacob Botter. Mit Africa by Montecruz Foto, Shock by David Brown, Mic by Robert Bejil