Sunday, April 22, 2007

Myspace "Hair Stories"

I have a myspace, but am not as active on it as Jen is. I did join a group called Natural Hair and found a nice forum with everyone's "hair stories" shared. Now you know we all have one. Most who have begun blogging have theirs somewhere hidden in their blog. Other's have it summed up in their profile. My Nappy Headed post was only the "beginning." I have to break out more pics and scan them to share the whole story. I found the myspace posts interesting to read. There's quite a bit to read, so check them out here if you like.

One of my favorite hair stories was that of Tuere ™'s. Scroll half way down the posts for her story. Isn't she and her locks just gorgeous? For those of you on myspace, drop by her page and show her some love. She's really down to earth and her voice is silky!

My girl Imani (California Consultant) started at group called Sisters In Locks. Check out her group and meet some new locked sisters. It's a fairly new group that could use a few new members.

Now, what's your hair story? Post it in your blog and comment here to let me know where it is in your blog (date) so it can be read by others . If you haven't shared your hair story, go on and do it today!! I've read lots and love hearing everyone tell their own unique story. It reassures me that I wasn't the only one to have hair care drama for decades. (LOL)

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Nappy Headed...and the Gender Crisis

I have a Fotki Photo Album and believe it or not, there's a whole nother world of naturals in that community that rarely mix with the world of bloggers. I enjoy checking in on my fotki friends and we leave comments in each other's albums just like the blogger family.

One Fotki friend in particular, TrifleMC posted a question that I saw, but didn't recognize as a deliberate question to who ever wanted to respond. I decided with all this "Nappy Headed" talk going on, I'd respond to him via my blog.

His photo post is in reference to his birthmark being something that drew negative attention to him in his youth because of ridicule by those who found him to look "different". His post and question is Here.

The question he asked was...

So tell me...What is yours from birth, only cherished now?

Here's my response:

Well, I guess it is my hair, mostly for starters. My mom didn't take care of my hair when I was a child. I was the last (baby girl) and I guess she just ran out of steam or was so depressed from having the four of us (two boys and two girls) within a 4 1/2 yrs time span. She just let go of her responsibilities and was a bit overwhelmed, IMO. I have pics where all you see is the cute little "nappy headed" boy with a big ole' smile all the time. It was me, not a boy. An older white gentleman walked up to me when we were heading into the grocery store and said to my mom, "You have the cutest little boy!" I said, at a tender age of 4 or 5, "I'm not a little boy, I'm a girl!!!!" I never forgot that. I didn't take notice that I could be perceived as a different gender until someone made me aware of it.

Now don't get me wrong, who at a young age in the mid 70's would really look forward to sitting in a hot kitchen for a couple of hours, stove burning, hair sizzling over the open fire and an occasional "Psttt!! You burned me!!" before getting popped on the shoulder and scolded with "Be still" or "You moved!"? It's enough to make a young black girl do some self loathing.

There's no mistaking, I didn't have the most manageable hair. But, it seems to me that after I had this uninvited gender crisis, I was on a mission to never be called out of my gender. I was a girl! I knew what boys looked like and what made boys boys and I knew I was a girl. I demanded to get my ears pierced and I wanted big loopy earrings, like to ladies with the big afros on Soul Train wore when they did the Soul Train Line. So mom numbed my ears with some wooden cloths pins and some ice cubes and in went the sewing needle burned at the end. It was pain I was willing to endure. I picked my own matching wooden stubs off the broom for my "temporary" ear rings. Looking back on it, boy was my Mom country. But it was all worth it, so I thought. I wanted to never be confused with a smelly little boy.

My saving grace was I was a "girly" girl. I loved the colors pink and purple, Tuesday Taylor Barbie dolls and doing "girl" stuff. So then I decided that I'd endure the pain of getting burnt on the ear or sitting for a few hours in the hot kitchen hearing my own hair sizzling on the stove top that it was like my secured rights of passage to remain a girl! I then demanding to get my hair pressed, curled, corn-rolled (although it wasn't long enough for cornrolls), twigged (it was long enough for that). I remember harassing my Mom aggressively right before we took school pictures (see slideshow). That was really important to me. By the time I was nine I'd entered the world of the Jheri Curl.

Now the pain went from a sizzling hot comb to a cool bizarre smelling cream that now sizzled my scalp and yes, still my ears! "When will the pain end?" I thought. Let's not talk about the "drip drip" stay so soft spray and plastic bag and all that that went with having a processed curl. It's funny because looking back, the goal at hand was to have my hair grow. And with a curl, it did, which took some of the pressure off.

But it still didn't keep Whitman Mayo, AKA Grady (see slideshow) from calling me a boy while he gave a fundraiser speech for Sickle Cell Anemia Association in town in 1981. I was invited to the dinner and was representing the YWCA youth group. He was giving the speech and was making a point about children. I must have been the only child there, and he kept saying "Hey boy! I'm talking to you!" I knew he was talking to me. The lady I was with along with everyone else knew he was talking to me. I tried to ignore him cause I kept telling myself I wasn't no boy! Finally someone closer to him said, "That's not a little boy, sir. That's a little girl." He apologized on the mic and was deeply embarrassed. Afterwards, he made sure he called me up to apologize. That's why there's a picture (see slideshow). You could see the hurt in his eyes, even in the picture. He kept saying he'd give me whatever I wanted and how he just didn't know. He kept saying how sorry he was. I guess by that time, I was already used to it. So, I brushed it off, and climbed on his knee and took a picture with him. Years had gone by but I never forgot. About the time of me getting my Sisterlocks, I thought I'd catch up with him, and send him a picture of us back then, and a current picture of me, but it was too late. He'd already passed away in 2001.

So, without going into an extensive "my hair story", with getting Sisterlocks almost 3 1/2 years ago, I'm learning to cherish the nappy natural hair God gave me. It's been a journey of almost 30+ years of trying to get free. I'm a lot better off than where I started. I just wish the consciousness and opportunity to proudly wear our hair in it's natural state was universally accepted years ago. And we now know there's still this stigma about having "Nappy Headed" hair.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Happy Easter and a few updates!

I have two more 8 hr Saturday classes and I'm done with school. So the next two weeks I'll be finishing up getting my portfolio for 20% of my final grade, preparing for the PPR final and TeXeS Exam in June. So with that being said, I'm a lil' behind in updating my blog and getting back to folks off line with "honey-dos". Can't right now. I'm also teaching in another long term assignment (7th Math) til May 1st or so and it's TAKS time so that in itself is quite stressful.

When I take a break I 'll lurk blogs and comment from time to time, but that's about it. It did snow yesterday here in Central Texas and I can only assume the weather may have been unusual in many parts of the nation. I did capture a lil bit for your viewing pleasure. Now remember, we live out in the country. So don't mind the roosters crowing!! Until I update my blog again, here's the Easter Remix.