Sunday, November 9, 2008


Gimme head with hair Long beautiful hair Shining, gleaming, Streaming, flaxen, waxen Give me down to there hair Shoulder length or longer Here baby, there mama Everywhere daddy daddy Hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair Flow it, show it Long as God can grow it My hair

The bane of my existence. So, if you are not from the African diaspora in terms of your hair, then you may find my words to be hyperbole. But every since I was a young girl I have hated the work it took to make my hair lay down, behave or appear to be "good." For those of you outside this special club I am going to let you in on a little secret - a great many black women obsess about their hair. And I find that I obsess in NOT obsessing about it.

I have worn my hair almost every conceivable way. And then I went to see HH the Dalai Lama in 2001. I have to honestly say I don't recall what his two days of talks were about. All I know is that the last night I went home to my family and had a dream. I was wearing shoulder length locs at the time and in my dream I shaved my head. Not bald, just shaved. In my dream it was a very freeing experience. And I saw myself perfectly. When I woke up that morning I was obsessed with shaving my head. I woke my husband up at 7am and told him he had to shave my head. He just looked at me like: "what new obsession is this woman!" But I was serious and I would not let it go. "What if it doesn't look good? What if you have bumps on your head that you don't know about?" I was not worried. I told him that I had seen it all in a dream. Even at this early stage in our marriage, my husband had learned that my dreams are pretty commanding in my waking life. So he went and got his mustache trimmer (you read that right) and shaved my head. I stood there in the mirror like a shorn lion and loved my reflection. LOVED IT! Ever since then I have worn my hair short. Very short. Except for when the chemotherapy kicked in last January (of all months to be bald) and I took the razor to my head.
Even after that imposed haircut I felt beautiful and free.

Well, now I am contemplating letting my hair grow again. People who know me well, i.e. my sister, have told me that it won't last. That I will once again get sick of my hair and maintenance and that I will shave it off again. I don't know about that. I had another dream. Another vision. This time I was the Lion with the mane. The image from that dream has stayed with me for awhile. So for now I am letting my curls grow and anticipating a lesson in patience and a new kind of freedom.

in peace

1 comment:

LunaSoror said...

I'll let you in on a white girl secret, I obsess about my hair too - mostly because I am too lazy to "do" it every day (these days that means straight) and also because white girls are not supposed to have afros (my August affliction). AND - I know if I shave my head I will look like a body with a big white lumpy potato on top. But I fantasize - maybe it's time to cut it short, I can always wear a hat!