My hair is never just my hair.
It’s always a statement,
One which, apparently, I’m not entitled to make.
If I rock my natural kinky curls,
If I weave another’s hair into my own,
If I permanently straighten it with chemicals,
I’m trying to be something I’m not.
Everyone’s got an opinion.
People pleaded with my mother:
“Nancy, please don’t perm that beautiful girl’s hair.”
“Nancy, she’s going to high school; it’s time.”
My hair was always the topic of conversation,
But I was never part of the discussion.
My hair may be attached to my head,
But it’s not a part of me.
It’s some thing that hangs in my eyes,
That everyone feels entitled to touch.
But I let it define me.
I hated being restricted to braids
When everyone else’s hair flowed and changed.
I hated the idea of a weave
Because I wanted my hair to be my own.
After I finally relaxed my hair into long, straight strands,
I never wanted to let go.
It was the source of all my confidence;
The measure of its length was the measure of my worth.
And then I cut it.
Again, the decision wasn’t my own.
But it’s one I love.
It has taught me to love myself for myself.
But I am not my hair.