I have never been fond of my hair. I have always kept it really short in order to keep it manageable. As an individual with mixed ethnic background, my hair has always been an object of contention in the prejudices of my family. A dead giveaway that I did not belong.
My hair is very curly and also very kinky. It grows up and out, more or less into an afro, the longer it gets. My older sister has straight hair, my younger siblings all have straight or wavy hair, with the exception of my second to last brother, Mann, who has hair like mine.
As a small child I have memories of my biological fathers family ostracizing me because of this. His mother used to pull my hair and call me a “half breed nigger” before pinching me until I bled. And for no other reason than simply existing.
I hated my hair after those days. In school I used to get teased because of it. In front of the other children I smiled and acted indifferent and then cry at night cursing it.
From the time I was 9 years old I started cutting my own hair. And since then I have never let it grow longer than I could manage. Until now.
I’ve decided to not just let it grow longer than what I can manage, but to let it grow long. After healing from my own trauma, I’ve discovered that while my hair is still frustratingly stubborn, I like my curls.
One day at a time. One thing at a time. I am healing from things I’ve never given much thought too. I am learning to love all the aspects of my being. Bravery comes in many forms, this is just one of mine.