My mind is sorta fried after a marathon writing and revising session. Still have a ton of data to add to my research, but it is coming along. So, I decided I’m going to write about some superficial stuff, but it has been on my mind.
I posted a picture on facebook showing a look I used to have. I was going through this phase, listening to lots of electronica, feeling all alternative. I was also bored with my hair which at the time I wore straight more often than curly and decided to go with bangs. Being that I’m obsessed with eyebrows, I couldn’t bring myself to cover them with bangs so I went with short bangs. The first day at work, they looked strange. But my co-worker who was a washed up musician in an Ohio industrial band (He even went on a double date with Trent Resnor to a Prince concert. How cool is that) sorta peeped the look and was like, “Hey that’s a cool Betty Paige Look.” But it wasn’t banging, so I went back and cut them shorter till I achieved this ultra cool retro look. Black people didn’t get it, but a lot of other people liked it. But having short bangs was annoying when I wanted to go natural. I had to wear a head band.
So, I posted this pic with my Betty paige bangs from when I was an undergrad. And at this gathering, my home boy was like, “I have a question, in that pic with the Betty Paige bangs was that a wig?” This was suprising coming from him. One time at this BBQ, another brotha who was staring at my big hair asked me if it was real. And my home boy was like, “Of course its real.” But this time with the bangs, he was like, it doesn’t look real.
Since I was in junior high, I’ve had a lot of negative attention about my hair. When I graduated, I was teased as I walked the stage. They were like, “BUSH! Busshhhhhhhhhh” I remember going to a track meet during my freshman year, the two rival schools with the biggest track teams, and a chorus of guys began singing, “Ewwwwwww is it really your hair? Is it really a weave? Is it really your hair?” Hair? Weave? Hair? Weave?” Do you remember that song? Anyways, it was totally humiliating, because I tried to do everything to make my hair look more real. I eventually cut off almost all of my hair. But as it grew out, it just looked like a mop. It just sorta looked like a short wig. Oh well.
A few years later when it had all grown back, I had some girls who had beef with me say, “She thinks she’s all that because she has all that hair.” Some girls tried to jump my best friend and cut off all her hair. Its crazy like that sometimes.
When I wore my hair natural, people thought I had a Jerri curl. I went back to straight because the curl wasn’t crackin then. When I had my hair staight other females would go up to my friends and ask them what was up with my wig. Some people said because it wasn’t straight straight, like bone straight that it looked fake. So, I would spend hours flat ironing my hair to make it thinner, smoother, less rattier looking. I became obsessive about my hair being bone straight.
One day, I realized how ridiculous it was. I was in a period of transition and knew I wanted to practice Islam. People saw me go through this transition. And some brotha said, “No, don’t cover your hair you are the only black girl that has long hair!!” Of course, I thought that was crazy and I had friends who had big heads of hair to hold it down for the sistas. Me, I was committed to the cause. No more questions about fake hair for the 5 years that I covered.
So five years later, when I decided to uncover my hair was like waist length. So, I was kinda freaked out. And I wasn’t really used to lots of male attention, so that was extra wierd. Within a few months, the questions came again. Somebody said the other day that any black woman who has long hair is suspect. Ain’t that something? I’m not knockin sistas for rockin weaves. White girls do it too, they just aren’t suspected as much as sistas. But on the subject of realness, I have had a number of things questioned. Things that are me, but people tend to call into question.
Are those your real nails?
Is that all your hair?
Are those your boobs or did you get a boob job?
And couple of times, people asked me if I had contacts because my eyes are brown and not black.
I have had people comment on my nails and say that I am vain. People comment on my display of gratuitious cleavage. People, i can’t wear half tank tops, blouses, and tops in stores because I’ll look like a stripper. But I’m not going to hide them by appearing overweight. This is my hair my crazy hair that sheds all over the place. NO, it’s not a french manicure, but the way my nails just grow. So don’t try to lecture me about nail polish and wudu. My great grandmother was a wet nurse and these mammary glands are inherited. I don’t feel like I need to be self conscious about what was given natural. It just bothers me when I have to constantly justify just being the way I am.
And if people can look through the superficial things that have come into question, they’ll see me: Just me…trying to be real, trying to enjoy being real.